Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Nicole and Stuart Benson, participants in Royal Montrose Golf Club’s Bicentenary 25-Hole Golf Open and descendants of William Doleman, the winner of the first 25- Hole Open, with Brian Ritchie, Captain of Royal Montrose Golf Club, and Harry Faulkner, Bicentenary Convener.

Bensons are descendants of first Montrose Open 25-hole winner
Among the 120 golfers who took to the Montrose Links on Sunday to compete in the world’s second 25-Hole Open were Stuart and Nicole Benson from Glasgow, direct descendants of the winner of the first 25-Hole Open, William Doleman.
“My great-great grandfather on my mother’s side was one of the golfing greats of his day,” said Stuart Benson, who has continued the family’s love of golf and plays off a 7-handicap. “William Doleman was born on September 16, 1838 in the club house at Musselburgh, where his father was the caretaker. According to a report in The Glasgow Herald celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth, William ‘began to play as soon as he could swing a club.’”
William’s early golfing practice came in very handy and he became a very successful amateur golfer, with several appearances in the British Open. “I’d heard that my great-great-grandfather had won a major tournament in Montrose so, when I was golfing in Montrose a few years ago, I checked the records and discovered he’d won 1866 25-Hole Open,” explained Stuart, who was accompanied by his 16-year-old daughter, and William’s great-great-great granddaughter, Nicole.
“We come to Montrose to play golf every year as we really enjoy the courses and the atmosphere,” said Nicole, who has inherited the golfing gene and has a handicap of 13. “I’m really looking forward to playing in this competition, especially as it was previously won by one of my ancestors.”
As well as winning the world’s first 25-Hole Open, Stuart revealed that his great-great grandfather has another claim to fame. “William Doleman is on record as the first person to play golf in North America,” said Stuart. “When he was 16, he joined the Merchant Navy and sailed to Quebec, where a newspaper reported on a lad by the name of William Doleman hitting ‘gowff balls’ on a stretch of land which would later become Royal Quebec Golf Course.”
The 25 Hole Open, which was sponsored by Astute, was part of the bicentenary celebrations of Royal Montrose Golf Club, which are being supported by Angus Council through Carnoustie Country. Competitors travelled from all over to take part in the event, including golfers from the USA, Holland and Scandinavia, and, with 25 holes to play – eighteen on Montrose Medal, seven on the Broomfield course – rounds took over five hours.
“That was really good fun,” said Gary Tough, one of the first finishers. “I only had a couple of bad holes and I’m happy with my score of 101.”
After the players had completed their 25-hole rounds, a special prize-giving was held in clubhouse. Winners of the specially-commissioned Royal Montrose Golf Club Bicentenary hickory shaft putters, handcrafted by Royal Montrose Golf Club member Michael Stewart, were George Finlay (scratch), who returned a very impressive score of 96, Tony Johnstone (men handicap up to 10), John Lloyd (men handicap 11 – 18) and Betty Cole (ladies handicap).
Every competitor in the tournament who equalled or beat Willam Doleman’s winning score of 112 was presented with a commemorative scroll, including Nicole, who completed 25 holes of the Montrose Links in two strokes less than her great-great-great grandfather!
More information about Royal Montrose Golf Club’s bicentenary events can be found at To find out more about Carnoustie Country and its golf courses, visit

Pictured left to right on the first tee are Brian Ritchie, Nicole and Stuart Benson, Harry Faulkner.



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