Monday, April 25, 2011


Calum Stewart, centre, and the rest of the leading prizewinners at Tain on Sunday.

Brora's Calum Stewart (17), in his final season of under-18 boys' golf,  put to rest his three-year wait to land a junior title when, at Tain on Sunday, he captured the Spence Trophy as winner of the North of Scotland boys' championship by four shots with rounds of 73 and 75.
While the North East District entry was curtailed to only one (Craig Bain Strathlene), due to the northerly venue, there was a strong North District presence - the previous week's Scottish boys' championship quarter finalist, Craig Oram (Nairn Dunbar), clubmate Freddie Brown, Kingussie's Jordan Shaw, Peter Sangster (Thurso) and defending champion Ross Proctor (Forres).
Since winning the Youths Invitational when only 15 at Hopeman in 2009, Stewart enjoyed most of his success at under-16 level where he was a silver medallist in the European Junior Masters in France, silver medallist as leading qualifier in the Carnegie Shield and elected team captain of the Scottish Under-16 team.
But as a 17-year-old and entering fourth year at school and all the extra pressures that entails he has had a mixed time and it is hoped that last Sunday's success will inspire a turning point.
A fairly strong wind gusted across the Tain links for most of the day and the morning CSS remained at 72. Stewart, from his one handicap, matched the first round CSS with gross 73 (36-37), one birdie at the par five 13th hole and four dropped shots, 7th, 14th, 15th and 18th holes to lead by four from a surprise challenger, Rory Asher (7) (The Nairn), followed by Brown (1) 78 and Shaw (2)78
The first round leader shed half of his lead at the opening hole of his second round. A pulled tee shot found a poor lie and his recovery struck one of the fence posts guarding the road that crosses the fairway 80 yards short of the green from where four more shots were taken to mount a double bogey 6.
The stumble did not linger and he reached the turn in 38 but their was another fright awaiting on the 11th tee (The Alps) from where he went out of bounds after starting back into the wind with a bogey 5 at the 10th hole. But with confidence restored he made birdie with the second ball and dropped just one more shot to par, again at the difficult 14th hole following his birdie at the previous par five to get home in 37 for 75.
Coming nearest to Stewart's 148 aggregate with the best score of the day, a second round 72 (38/34), was the in-form Oram for 152 followed by his club mate Brown who added a second round 75 for 153 as Shaw repeated his first round 78 for 156 and fourth place.
Young Asher's second-round 80 earned him the Under-16 scratch title and from neighbouring Nairn Dunbar, Cameron McLeod, handicap 18, swept home with a net aggregate of 138 (65/73).
 CSS 72,72.
148 C Stewart (Brora) (73/75).
152 C Oram (Nairn Dunbar) (80/72).
153 F Brown (Nairn Dunbar) (78/75).
156 J Shaw (Kingussie) (78/78).
157 R Asher (The Nairn) (77/80).
158 C Dixon (Hopeman) (80/78).
160 P Sangster (Thurso) (84/76).
161 S Murray (Inverness) (83/78).
162 A Ross (Fort William) (78/84).
163 M Dingwall (Forres) (83/80).
164 C Franssen (Inverness) (83/81), R Proctor (Forres) (82/82).
Under 16 Scratch
158 R Asher. (The Nairn).
161 S Murray (Inverness).
162 A Ross (Fort William)
C McLeod (Nairn Dunbar) (18) 138.
T Ross (Reay) (16) 141.
F Asher (The Nairn) (16), G Munro (Reay) (16) 143.



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