Wednesday, March 07, 2012


The Thurso double act of Dougie Thorburn and Bryan Ronald headed the ratings in the North Golf Alliance fixture at Invergordon.
Thorburn has been beaten only twice in seven outings this season, surprisingly both came at Caithness venues, his home course fixture last October where Tain's Mike Sangster came out on top and then at neighbouring Reay last month where Wick's David Dunbar brought in the winning scratch score.
The one fixture that Thorburn missed was the opening one at Durness where it allowed his clubmate Ronald to record his only win.
Making a return to the course where he was previously a member Ronald bagged his second runner's up place at Invergordon, but Thorburn's whirlwind season continued with his fifth scratch win when he returned a three over par card of 71 (36-35) to win by two shots from his clubmate, who had halves of 37 and 36.
Ferries and Moran were joined on the 75 mark by a second Tain member, Mike Sangster, but playing with a handicap of seven Moran easily moved into first place in the Class 1 handicap list with a nett 68.
Wick's Andy Mackay came second with nett 70, off 6, before Tain's Raymond Lockie beat off his two club mates Sangster and Steven Holmes for third place after a better inward half card count back.
All three had nett scores of 72, but Lockie, a contender for the Mackintosh Salver, found his 72 did not improve on his 72 hole aggregate count of 276 in the race for the Mackintosh Salver while Sangster's 72 completed his mandatory four scores to bring him into a challenging position for the handicap trophy.
A second place nett 68 in the Class 2 section from Durness's Francis Keith reduced his running total to 273. Keith lost the first place in his section on a count back to Steve Osbourne (Thurso) as the Caithness entry took three of the four prizes, Ally Simpson and Angus Cameron completing the scoring with nett 73s
With a miracle score of 64 twelve months at the final fixture played over his home course, Tain's Munro Ferries shattered Doug Thorburn's dream of winning the Scratch Quaich for the first time but now trailing Thorburn's four-score aggregate by 16 shots going into this season's final fixture at Royal Dornoch next weekend an upset this year is off the Richter scale.
Tain's Sangster by completing the mandatory fourth score and adding to his three previous nett 70 returns joins Lockie on the trail of Keith for the handicap trophy and Keith at the final fixture will also have to ward off Wick's David Dunbar. Also to be played out at Dornoch is the Alliance Shield Trophy for club scores.

Invergordon Alliance Results
Scratch – D Thorburn (Thurso) 71; B Ronald (Thurso) 73; M Ferries (Tain), M Moran (Invergordon), M Sangster (Tain) 75.
Class 1 – M Moran (Invergordon) (7) 68; A Mackay (Wick) (6) 70; R Lockie (Tain) (9), M Sangster (Tain) (3) 72; S Holmes (Tain) (4) 73.
Class 2 – S Osbourne (Thurso) (20), F R M Keith (Durness) (12) 68. A Simpson (Thurso) (19) , A Cameron (Thurso) (11) 73.


The leading American golf publication, Links, has recently issued its 2012 survey on the World's top 100 golf courses and Royal Dornoch has come in at number twelve.
Royal Dornoch is one of only three Scottish courses in the top twenty, it is accompanied by St. Andrews rated at number three in the world and Muirfield just ahead of Royal Dornoch at number eleven.
Other Scottish courses featuring in the magazine's "Glorious 100" are Turnberry (24), Carnoustie (34), North Berwick (45), Kingsbarns (53), Cruden Bay (61) and Royal Troon (66). Topping the list is America's Cypress Point followed by Pine Valley.
Royal Dornoch could be on track to rise even further up the rankings after going down the eco-friendly route on course equipment. Delivery of six revolutionary Toro Greensmaster Triflex Hybrid greens mowers has just recently been completed, the first four arrived late last year and during the winter month's Head Greenkeeper Eoin Riddell and his staff staff have been getting used to the change in operating them.
All six of the environmentally-friendly mowers, featuring all-electric cylinder drives, have now been delivered and Riddell and his staff are delighted with them.
“We wanted the hybrids to reduce the chance of hydraulic leaks, we are impressed by the way the mowers follow the contours of the ground – the cutting units just hug the surface to give a really nice clip”.
This is good news for the hundreds of visiting golfers who will play over the classic Dornoch links this season and especially the cream of Scottish amateur golfers who will arrive in August to challenge for the Scottish amateur championship.



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