Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tain winner Ronnie Taylor is back in

North Alliance Trophy contention

Wick's Ronnie Taylor, with a winning scratch score of 73 at Tain, has significantly moved back into contention for a North Golf Alliance trophy he has won six times in the past eleven years since introduced.
While local back marker and current scratch aggregate trophy leader Munro Ferries was have one of these days he will quickly want to forget, a short game that deserted him and eventually a “No Return,” Taylor repeated his last home fixture winning score of 73 with another 73 from halves of 38 and 35.
The Wick +1 handicapper's game was a bit ragged to begin with, a four-over-par outward 38 where the normal outward par drops to 34 during the winter months when the second hole is played as a par-3. He fell easily to bogeys at the fourth (a penalty drop from bushes) and the seventh, eighth and ninth holes before rediscovering his +1 rating to match the inward par of 35. The previous multi-holder of the Scratch Quaich birdied the long 13th but immediately gave the stroke back at the next hole for his card of 73 but his inward count of 35 relegated local Steven Holmes to second place after Holmes was already in the clubhouse with a similar score.
Holmes posted his 73 from halves of 37 and 36. He did not secure his par-3 at the second hole but he did birdie the short eighth to better Taylor's outward count by one. Then, nearing the end of his round, he took a bogey 4 at the 17th to raise his inward count to one over par 36.
Ferries' Quaich aggregate total remains at 284, but with Taylor being able to replace his counting 86 at Golspie last November, in stormy conditions, his 73 on Sunday reduced his total by 13 shots to 292 and he is now equal second with Bryan Ronald (Thurso) who came in with the next best score of the day, a 74, that took three shots from his previous total of 295.
Four-handicapper Ronald also had an "iffy" outward count of 39 but recovered his card with an inward 35 after birdies at the 12th and 15th cancelled out his double bogey 5 at the 17th.
Holmes had the consolation of leading the Class 1 handicap returns, his gross 73 reducing to net 68 and winning by two from Mike Keay (Tarbat). Keay's first 17 holes were all 3s, 4s and 5s and only at the final hole did he disrupt this steady stuff with a double bogey 6.
It has taken from Durness last October where he won the Class 1 section to Tain on Sunday to get over a winter of golf disruption from a niggling back strain but Wick's Ron Barker showed his back returned to strength with a gross 77, net 70, to take third place in Class 1 handicap, beaten for second on a better last nine by Tarbat greenkeeper Mike Keay.
Doubling up to local winner Holmes in Class 1 was the Class 2 winner Ali Melville, his net 77 from handicap 12 good enough in a poorly attended section of only eight. With a shot more and in only his second outing of the year there was a golf ball for Steve MacKay (Durness).
Brian Ronald was upgraded to second scratch when Holmes earned first handicap in Class 1 but the Thurso member's net 70 also reduced his nett aggregate by three and brought him level with MacKintosh Salver leader, Reay's Grant Maxwell on 276. Seann Sutherland (Bonar Bridge) remaining on 277
Maxwell has the advantage of a home fixture on Sunday in his bid to win the MacKintosh Salver. Results:
73 R W Taylor (Wick) (38-35), S Holmes (Tain) (37-36).
74 B Ronald (Thurso) (39-35).
75 A Swanson (Thurso) (33-42), D. Thorburn (Thurso) (37-38).
77 M Keay (Tarbat) (39-38), R Barker (Wick) (37-40), C. Stewart (Brora( (36/41).
79 S R Sutherland (Bonar-Bridge) (40-39), W Murray (Wick) (39-40) M J Sangster (Thurso) (37-42).
Class 1 – S Holmes (Tain) (5) 68; M Keay (Tarbat) (7), R Barker (Wick) (7) 70; K Lorimer (Brora) (9) 72.
Class 2 – A Melville (Tain) (12) 77; S MacKay (Durness) (16) 78.



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