Tuesday, August 12, 2014


John Houston (Hilton Park) with the trophy and (right) Stotters Group founder member Frank  Cougan.  Picture by Robin Wilson.



In the late 1950s and early 1960s a Dr John Houston  from Milngavie's Hilton Park Golf Club annually led a group of his clubmates to the Royal Hotel in Tain where they resided  for a week when taking part in Tain Golf Club's annual August tournament.
The visitors and their families formed a lasting bond with Tain golfers and their little group which still survives as "The Stotters" lives on in a new generation of visitors and locals.
The visitors were not just in Tain to party and in 1960 the Doctor won Tain Golf Club's leading scratch cup after introducing his son, of the same name to golf, and the "Stotters" group.
John Houston junior, now aged 48, added his name to the cup this year with a 17th hole victory over home favourite lefty, Munro Ferries.
When the two local brothers, Munro and Billy Ferries arrived in the semi-finals the home support was hoping for both or one of them to make the final. 
Billy lost his semi-final to John Houston at the second extra hole but when Munro ousted the winner of the past two years, Nairn-based Fraser Fotheringham, Munro, the local seven time club champion, was installed as favourite to end his McVitie and Price Cup drought.
When Munro Ferries approached the closing stages of his tie against Fotheringham with a three-hole lead he lost the 16th and 17th holes but managed to cling on for a win on the final green. 
At the same staged he crumbled in the final against Houston. The Hilton Park golfer had out-putted his opponent over the opening stages and led by three after 12 holes. 
A Ferries revival saw him win the the   13th, 14th the 15th  to level the contest.
But an uncharacteristic three putt on the 16th green by the local put Houston back in front and on the next hole he had achieved his lifetime ambition, since first accompanying his father to Tain as an eight-year-old,  by winning the penultimate hole and putting the Houston name on the McVitie and Price Cup for a second time.
Liam Rostock (24), younger brother of the Carnegie Club's  former assistant professional, Jody Rostock, holed a 30ft putt on the last green to beat Irishman Dennis Hughes (Co. Armagh) to lift the principle handicap cup, the Stirling. 
In the final of the next handicap competition, for the Munro Rose Bowl, local Martin Ross beat clubmate Chris Illett by one hole.
The final of the fourth match-play trophy, the Teddy Brooks Cup, extended to four extra holes when Kevin Maguire (Dunfermline) lost the 18th hole but halved the next three sudden death holes with another Hilton Park member, Greg McIntyre, to eventually end the deadlock at the 22nd

Match Play Results 
 (All Tain unless stated) 
McVitie and Price Cup – Semi finals – J Houston bt B Ferries at 20th, M Ferries bt F Fotheringham 1 hole. 
Final - Houston bt M Ferries 2 and 1.
Stirling Cup - Semi-finals - L Rostock (17) bt C Hughes (12),  D Hughes (Co. Armagh) (15) bt C Finlayson (9) 4 and 2. 
Final - Rostock bt Hughes 1 hole.
Munro Rose Bowl - Semi-finals  – C Ilett (5) bt B Duff (10), M Ross bt G Duguid (Dunecht House) (7).   
Final - Ross bt Illett 1 hole. 
Brooks Cup - Semi-finals – G McIntyre (Hilton Park) bt D MacLeod (10), K Maguire (Dunfermline) bt J MacDonald (17). 
Final -Maguire bt McIntyre at 22nd.    


 Brora winners -  left to right - Clynelish Shield winner Ross Powell (Deeside) Claire Fraser, the Distillery Visitor Centre Manager, Clynelish Salver winner Roddie Cameron (Brora), Michael Jack (Ham Manor) Auchroisk Cup winner, Michael MacKintosh  (Brora)  McRobert Thistle Cup winner, Michael MacLean (Brora) Best Junior qualifier.

In a repeat of the 2008 final when local member Roddie Cameron beat clubmate James MacBeath for his third Clynelish Salver success,  the two golfing pals met again in the 2014 final and Cameron added his name to the Salver for a fourth time.

Six years ago Cameron beat MacBeath, the most successful winner ever of the event with seven recorded wins, on the final green but this year, after dominating the middle stages of the final and taking a four-hole lead through the first nine holes, Cameron claimed his fourth Salver success on the 15th green.

After losing the first hole to a birdie 3, the 53-year old in-house painter at Skibo Castle levelled with a par on the third hole against the course head greenkeeper, then reeled off excellent par and birdie figures at the 4th, 5th, 6th , 7th and eighth holes to take a commanding four-hole lead to the home stretch. 
A bunker find and three-putt at the 12th hole cut the lead but the response of his fourth holed birdie putt of the round on the 14th green restored his four-hole advantage and the inevitable triumph  followed on the next green.

The final of the McRobert Thistle Cup brought a first time success for home member Mike MacKintosh. The loser in two previous finals, MacKintosh (57) squared up against clubmate Graham Grant in the final for his third attempt. 
In an evenly matched contest which went to the final green, which both players missed with their tee shots, MacKintosh held on for his one-hole win by playing for and achieving a bogey 4 half from the front of green hollow after Grant found a second bunker in two holes.

Deeside teenager Ross Powell (17) made his first mark in Sutherland in 2012 when he won both the Millicent Bowl and Handicap Cup in the Golspie Classic. 
His playing handicap now reduced to single figures, he watched as his father Andrew and uncle Iain were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the scratch Clynelish Salver. 
Powell's handicap now reduced to eight, he met another eight-handicapper, local Richard Sutherland in the final of the Clynelish Shield and after losing a two-hole lead had to go into extra holes.   
The win for the teenager came at the third extra hole after putting he put his third shot into a right-hand greenside bunker.

The only trophy to leave the club was the Auchroisk Cup for the high handicap section. Two visiting golfers contested the final, Michael Jack of Ham Manor (West Sussex) and Scott Tulloch from the Lothians' Longniddrey Golf Club. 
This game also went the distance with Jack handed the one-hole winning result after Tulloch found the rough with his final tee shot.

A new trophy for the “Scrubbers,” ie those players who did not qualify for the main match-play trophies, has been given to the club by last year's Scrubbers' winner John MacGregor, Brora's bespoke furniture maker. 
First winner was John Morrison who, before his move to Inverness, began his golf at Durness, beat Brora's overseas member Iain Taylor in the final by two holes.   

(All Brora unless stated)
 Leading Qualifier – 143 L MacDonald-MacLeod 70 73. 
Clynelish Salver Round 1 – L MacDonald-MacLeod bt I Stewart 7 and 6, D Joel (Inverness) bt B Melville (Golspie) 4 and 3, J MacBeath bt D Fletcher 6 and 5, A MacDougall (Golspie) bt M MacLean at 19th, E Polson bt F Cairney (Invr) 3 and 2, A Powell (Deeside) bt L Blyth (Prestonfield) 2 and 1, R Cameron bt J Turner (Tyneside) 3 and 2, I Powell (Murcar) bt A Stewart 2 and 1. 
Round 2 – Joel bt MacDonald-MacLeod 3 and 2, MacBeath bt MacDougall 3 and 2, Polson bt A Powell 4 and 2, Cameron bt I Powell 2 and 1. 
Semi-finals- MacBeath bt Joel 1 hole, Cameron bt Polson 2 and 1 
Final – Cameron bt MacBeath 4 and 3.

McRobert Thistle Cup Semi-finals - G Grant bt  A Fraser (Deeside) at19th, M MacKintosh bt I Murray (Falkirk) 2 and 1. 
Final - MacKintosh bt Grant 1 hole. 
Clynelish Shield - Semi-finals - R Sutherland bt D Spaven (Pitlochry) 4 and 3, R Powell (Deeside) bt D Norrie 3 and 2.
Final - Powell bt Sutherland at 21st.
Auchroisk Cup – Semi-finals - M Jack (Ham Manor) bt R MacPherson 2 holes, S Tulloch (Longniddry)  bt J MacAskill 6 and 5. 
Final - Jack bt Tulloch 1 hole. 
Supplementary Final - J Morrison (Inverness) bt I Taylor 2 holes.



Local Cara Gruber, pictured above, was the only golfer to return a card under 80 in the Royal Dornoch's Women's Open tournament. 
The Northern Counties player's gross 77, one over the ladies' par, won the Milburn Challenge Cup and Silver Medal. USA student Rachel Polson (Peterculter) filled second place with an 82.

Thomson's card of 37 and 40 featured four birdies over her first nine holes and two on the inward stretch, the 11th and final hole.

The Lovell Salver was won by local member Christine Ramsey with nett 75, off 16 and in the Silver Division there was an encouraging fifth place for young Caitlin Boa now playing off 13 and returning a nett 78.  
 The scratch Lawrie Cup for Bronze handicap golfers was won by home member Rosemary Muschamp and the best nett score in this division was returned by her clubmate Irene Hart, nett 79 off 24.


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