By ROBIN WILSON
Twelve months ago in the Black Isle Foursomes, the host club, Fortrose and Rosemarkie, found two local heroes in club secretary Michael MacDonald and Chris Gaittens.
They became the first home scratch winners since 1984 and at weekend they made a stout defence of the trophy, beating five time previous winners, Neil Hampton (Royal Dornoch) and Colin Taylor (Kinloss) in the final.
Four time winners Alan Cameron (F and R) and Ewan Forbes (Inverness) and the all Inverness pair of David Joel and Jamie Treasurer completed the semi final match-play group on Sunday morning, a new experience for Joel and Treasurer following the call into action at a North District trial match atForres of Tain's Munro Ferries and Thurso's Dougie Thorburn.
This event affected this year's entry where the winners led the four semi finalists into the match play stages with excellent Saturday qualifying rounds of 71 and 69.
The Invernesians who qualified with cards of 76 and 74 on Saturday lost in the semi-final to the holders on the 17th green. The other semi final was a re-run of the 2010 final with the same outcome. Inverness club secretary Forbes and local Cameron lost to Hampton and Taylor, this time by one hole.
In the final after a halved first hole, six of the next seven holes were exchanged, Hampton and Taylor winning the 2nd, 4th 5th and 7th but losing the 3rd and 6th but finding themselves two ahead of Gaittens and MacDonald. The local pair with par figures won the next two holes to be level after nine and after a shared 10th hole went ahead by two from a conceded birdie on the 11th and a par figure at the twelfth hole.
After their lead was halved by a birdie at the 14th hole they quickly reinstated their two hole advantage with a par four on the next. Hampton and Taylor found another birdie putt on the 16th green, the penultimate hole was then halved but from the final tee Taylor pulled his tee shot left and an unchallenged par three retained the trophy for the local pairing.
The Black Isle Open Foursomes – Sponsored by MacKenzie Investment Strategies in Inverness
140 M MacDonald (F and R) and C Gaittens (F and R) 71 69
150 A Cameron (F and R) and E Forbes (Inverness) 76 74, N D Hampton (Royal Dornoch) and C Taylor (Kinloss) 75 75
151 D Joel (Inverness) and J Treasurer (Inverness) 73 78
143M Windsor (F and R) and J Simpson (Nairn) (12) 72 71, B Main (F and R) and C Young (F and R) (9.5) 70.5 72.5)
144 M McArthur (F and R) and J D Hearmon (F and R) (8) 69 75
148 D Chisholm (F and R) and K Williamson (F and R) (6) 73 75.
Best net score outside the qualifiers – D Patterson (F and R) and D Shaw (Nairn) 70.5.
M MacDonald (F and R) and C Gaittens (F and R) bt D Joel (Inverness) and J Treasurer (Inverness) 2 and 1; N D Hampton (Royal Dornoch) and C Taylor (Kinloss) bt A Cameron (F and R) and E Forbes (Inverness) 1 Hole
MacDonald and Gaittens bt Hampton and Taylor (Kinloss) by Holes.
M Windsor (F and R) and J Simpson (Nairn) bt D Chisholm (F and R) and K. Williamson (F and R) 2 and 1; B Main (F and R) and C Young (F and R) bt M. McArthur (F and R) and J D Hearmon 5 and 4
Windsor and Simpson bt Main and Young 4 and 3.