Monday, February 25, 2008

Brora's Shaun Ashe, on his way to victory in the Class 2 handicap section (image by Robin Wilson)


Thurso one-handicapper Jim Sangster claimed his first Alliance win of the season at Tain after his inward card of 38 relegated home favourite Munro Ferries to second place. They had tied on 73, equating to four over par for the Tain winter course.
With the second hole playing as a par-3, the outward par reduces to 34. Sangster's card was 35 for the first nine holes and he went to two over par with a bogey 5 at the first inward hole. He then matched par until he missed both greens at the par-4 16th and 17th holes to sign off for his 73 with an inward 38.
Ferries enjoyed an outward one under par score of 33, before dropping his first stroke at the 10th. The difficult holes on the inward half behind him, he was on track to return a 69 that, had he done so, would have reinstated his comfortable lead over Wick' s Ronnie Taylor as they go head to head for the Quaich.
Surprisingly, Ferries bogeyed the last four holes for an inward 40 to take second place behind Sangster on the inward count.
Enjoying his early season golf is the Wick captain, Bill Murray who had the third best gross score of the day over the course where he was a past member.
Murray built on an opening burst of 3 3 4 4 to be two under par. Although he had a run of bogeys on the inward half, his 75 (36-39) was third best scratch and also third best handicap in Class 1.
Murray needs to keep up the good work and get a sub-70 score in the final fixture over his home course on March 23 to put some pressure on the MacKintosh Salver leaders. His net 69 at Tain has lowered his four-score total to 278. With the leaders making no improvement at Tain, Murray is within sight of them.
Holder Mike Keay (Tarbat) still leads on 271 with Seann Sutherland (Bonar Bridge) two shots back on 273.
Wick's Ronnie Taylor, normally very dependable with his putter, found, like many others, the Tain greens tricky to say the least and he could do no better than a 76, leaving Munro Ferries still with a two-shot lead for the scratch Quaich. Ferries 279 and Taylor 281.
Two locals occupied the first two places in Class 1, Raymond Lockie a net 66 for first place and Alex Gunn, net 69, edging second place ahead of Bill Murray on the inward half comparison. Then followed two more Thurso successes, David Dunbar and Ronnie Matheson.
The Thurso club's prizewinners' count went up to four when Alf Williamson grabbed third place in the high handicap section with his net 75 but the four-shot winner with a net 70 was Brora's Shaun Ashe.
Starting times have been issued for the fixture this weekend at Invergordon, where the course may be reduced to 17 holes due to weather damage to the 11th green. Two fixtures remain after Invergordon - Brora on March 16 and the final at Wick on March 23.
73 J Sangster (Thurso) 35-38, M Ferries (Tain) 33-40.
75 W Murray (Wick).
76 A Gunn (Tain), R W Taylor (Wick), D A Mackay (Thurso), R Lockie (Tain).
77 R Matheson (Thurso), D Dunbar (Thurso).
78 M Sangster (Tain)
Class 1 – R Lockie (Tain) (10) 66; A Gunn (Tain) (7), W Murray (Wick) (6) 69; D Dunbar (Thurso) (5) 72; R Matheson (Thurso) (3) 74.
Class 2 – S Ashe (Brora) (12) 70; A Melville (Tain) (12) 74; A Williamson (Thurso) (18) 75; L Ross (Durness) (11), A McDonald (Ullapool) (16) 77.



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