Sunday, September 04, 2016

Lanarkshire beat Lothians to be crowned Team 
Kings at Dalmahoy and end 18-year drought

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! Lanarkshire's winning team and Willie Sharpe. Picture by courtesy of Kevin Kirk

Drumpellier’s Steven Rennie was the hero as Lanarkshire lifted the GolfKings Scottish Men’s Area Team Championship title at Dalmahoy for the first time since 1998.
Rennie held his nerve in the final match on the final green as the six-man Lanarkshire side defeated home outfit Lothians to secure just their third Area Team triumph, edging a closely-fought final 
5 – 4 following three foursomes and six singles matches.
After losing the 2014 final to Renfrewshire, there was capital joy this time for Rennie, Craig Ross, Ed Wood, Dominic Dougan, Kenneth Gallacher and Gordon Yates at Dalmahoy Hotel and  Country Club just outside Edinburgh.
Having taken the lunchtime lead on Dalmahoy’s East Course, thanks to a 2 – 1 victory in the foursomes, Willie Sharpe’s Lanarkshire men eased further clear with singles wins from Ross, the reigning South African Amateur champion, and Wood.
But the Lothians, seeking their first title since 2007, hit back with victories from Scottish Boys champion Eric McIntosh, Broomieknowe’s Lee Morgan and Euan McIntosh, the new Scottish Golf Men’s Order of Merit winner, to level matters.
That meant all eyes turned to Rennie’s clash with Jordyn Rhind, attached to Kingsfield. Rennie’s birdie from 15 feet at the 16th gave him a two-hole cushion, but his bogey at the par-3 17th provided Rhind with hope. Rennie, however, stood firm to half the last and spark the celebrations.
“This is pretty special,” said Rennie, 36. “It was a wee bit nerve wracking coming down 18 but I got the job done. We’ve got an excellent mix of youth and experience. Kenny is 53 and played in the Senior British Open a few years ago, Craig Ross is excellent and Gordon is a previous internationalist who has come back to the amateur game.
“I didn’t realise this is only the third time we have won this event. I was in the team that lost two years ago, so it’s excellent to finally do it.”
A delighted Sharpe said of his side: “We have a fantastic team and I knew we had a good chance. When you have five or six plus handicap players in your team, you expect to do well. It was great to get to the final and I’m so pleased now. I’m really proud of them all.”
For the Lothians, it was a disappointing end after they led the strokeplay qualifying on Friday, but Turnhouse’s McIntosh admitted the better team won.
“We came up just short,” said the 47-year-old, who has enjoyed a superb year back in the amateur ranks. “It was a good final and they just played that bit better. They are deserved winners.
“I think winning the foursomes in the morning is really important, it made it that bit easier for them in the afternoon. I think we did really well, led the qualifying which was fantastic and all the guys played their hearts out. Anything could have happened on the last, but Steven showed a lot of bottle to see it out for Lanarkshire.”



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