Thursday, August 22, 2013


                            Carnegie Shield local winner Chris Mailley with the trophy

One hundred and twelve years ago, in 1901, Louise Carnegie, wife of Andrew Carnegie of Skibo Castle presented for the first time to local golfer Tommy Grant her husband's gift of the Carnegie Shield  to Royal Dornoch Golf Club, and history was repeated last Saturday at the end of the one hundredth playing of the competition, when Margaret Thomson of Overskibo, a great great grand- daughter of the donor, was present to hand over the trophy to another local winner, Chris Mailley.

The competition reached its one hundredth milestone this year as during the years of the Great War 1914 to 1918 and during and after the second World War the competition was suspended from 1940 to 1947 before  recommencing in 1948 when it had another another Dornoch winner, J S (Cairnie) Macrae.

Last week's one hundredth celebration began on the eve of the first qualifying round when Mrs. Thomson was the honoured guest and twenty former champions were entertained by the Club Captain to dinner in the clubhouse. Following the excellent meal the former champions were presented with a commemorative quaich engraved with the year(s) that they won. As an added touch a specially commissioned money clip showing the Shield was given to all 270 competitors.

Eight of the former winners present qualified to do battle in the match play rounds, Alex MacDonald, John Forbes, Scott Chisholm, Chris Mailley, Stewart Wilson, James Bunch and Andrew Biggadike and renewing old rivalries Mailley accounted for Wilson in round 1 and then Bunch in round 2 before Mailley eventually overcame stiff resistance from the American Biggadike in the semi final to reach his second final. Record ten time winner Jim Miller (Brora ) also earned a qualifying place but now aged 70 chose to withdraw from the match-play element.

Miller's withdrawal allowed Gary Gruber the last place in the seeded draw and then the Carnegie Golf Course manager caused the first round upset by putting out the leading qualifier and Silver Medallist Alex MacDonald (2x68s). Gruber then was beaten by American visitor Trey Wilkinson from Houston, Texas  who showed his pedigree by beating in the next round,  the Holder John Forbes (Inverness) on his way to the final to meet Mailley on Saturday afternoon.

Before the final there was another small ceremony to mark the momentous week when  Willie Skinner the oldest winner from (1958) was invited to hit the first ball in a three hole challenge of former champions.  Reminiscent of his former glory days and to great applause the ex club professional found the fairway with his trademark running draw shot while David Aitchison the 2001 champion and now professional at Hayling Island Golf Club with young years on his side smashed his drive almost onto the green.

Ken Houston (Golspie) easily won his 1977 final replay with Robin Wilson (Brora) while the only two time winner in the group, Gary Bethune (Elgin)  (1989/1991) and Wilson (1984) showed how to, and not to, play the second hole. Gary excelled with his recovery after missing the green left and Robin had a “Hamlet”  moment in one of the bunkers!. The limited edition commemorative bottle of scotch malt  presented to all five players on the the 18th green eased the aches and pains and some of the embarrassment of the not so good shots.

The real golf began on the first green when Mailley won the opening hole of the 100th Carnegie Shield final with a par four. An hour earlier the former winner stayed in the competition by arriving at the side of the first green in two after a wayward drive from the 18th green. He stood one ahead in his semi final against the American, Biggadike but from still 200 yards he was able to get his third  to the edge of the 18th green and half the hole in five to go through to the final.  

The at the fourth hole of the final he played another remarkable recovery chip from the back of the green to go two ahead of his opponent. The first birdies by either of the finalists was shared on the sixth green but on the par five ninth green Wilkinson halved his deficit with his second birdie.

This should have been the spur to give the visitor a positive start to the tougher inward half but Mailley changed the course of the game on the next hole. Both players missed the green, Mailley to the right and Wilkinson bunkered on the left. The American made the better recovery but in true match-play turn around Mailley holed first and Wilkinson missed.

The local had restored his two hole advantage and over the next two holes, Wilkinson bunkered again at the the 11th made bogey six from a poor drive at the following hole .  Mailley's strong iron play was become significant into the the stiffening wind and although his tee shot to the par three 13th  overshot the green his winning bogey at Foxy put him four up again and dormy.  A final wedge approach to four feet of the pin on the next green and the resultant birdie closed out his opponent by 5 and 3.

A pair of former Shield winners, Colin Christy and Gary Bethune made it into the Davidson Trophy match play rounds for low handicap nett score qualifiers but emerging for the first time with this trophy was Ross-shire's Ken Gaittens from Fortrose and Rosemarkie.

Four handicapper Gaittens, after covering the first nine holes of the final against local David Clark in one over par 36, even with a lost ball on the 8th hole, gave him a three hole lead on the tenth tee but Gaittens lost his lead when Clark recovered to win the 11th, 12th and 14th holes.  Gaittens went into the lead once more with par on the 15th then a birdie three on the 17th green from three feet ended the tie and took the trophy to Fortrose.

After beating his club mate Chris Ross in the semi final home member Martin Lynch then saw off Royal Mid Surrey's Bob Shepherd in the final of the high handicap section with a winning burst of four holes in succession round the turn to win the E C Fraser final  by three and two.

Carnegie Shield Match-Play Results

First Round 
(All Royal Dornoch unless stated) 
  G Gruber bt beat A MacDonald 2/1. T Wilkinson (USA) beat K Mackay (Inverness) 6/5. J D Forbes (Inverness ) bt N D Hampton 6/5.G McGimpsey (Bangor) beat N Macleod 3/2. G Bell (Bathgate ) bt S Deery (West Lancs) 1 hole. S Harper (Castle Royle) bt S Thornhill (Broadway) 4/2. R A L Cameron (Fortrose & Rosemarkie) bt C Sutherland 2 holes. D Pearson bt M McMurray (Bangor) 4/3. E Barras (Loch Ness) bt J Calberg (USA) 3/1. S Chisholm (Fortrose & Rosemarkie) bt N McQueen (Mellor & Townscliffe) 3/2. C Mailley bt S Wilson (Inverness) 4/3. J Bunch (Prestwick) bt  A Easterbrook (USA) 6/5. J P Paulus (Germany) bt  A A Mackay (Haggs Castle) 6/5. C Nelson (The Nairn) bt N MacDonald (Muckhart) 4/3. P O'Hagen (Broadway) bt R MacKinnon (Mellor & Townscliffe)  4/3. A J Biggadike (USA) bt I Pether (Dale Hill) 5/4. 

Round 2 – Wilkinson beat Gruber 2 holes. Forbes beat McGimpsey 5&4. Harper beat Bell 3/2. Cameron beat Pearson 2/1. Chisholm beat Barras3/2. Mailley beat Bunch 1 hole. Paulus beat Nelson 3/1. Biggadike beat O'Hagen 4/3.   Round 3 – Wilkinson beat Forbes @19th. Cameron beat Harper 3/2. Mailley beat Chisholm 6/5. Biggadike beat Paulus @ 19th.  Semi finals – Wilkinson beat Cameron 2/1. Mailley beat Biggadike 1 hole. Final Mailley beat Wilkinson 5/3.

Davidson Trophy Semi finals – D Clark beat J Shepherd 4/3. K Gaitten (Fortrose & Rosemarkie) neat R Skenlon (Copthorne) 3/2. Final Gaittens beat Clark 2/1.

E C Fraser Trophy – Semi- finals – M Lynch beat C Ross 4/3.  R Shepherd (Royal Mid Surrey) beat J Flower 5/4. Final Lynch beat Sheffield 3/2     



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