Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cameron and Forbes' sixth win equals Black Isle Foursomes record

With the names of the first winners in 1980, Michael Fraser and Ian Gray, forgotten by most, the 39th winners of the MacKinlay Bowl from this year's Black Isle Foursomes at Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club,  Alan Cameron and Ewan Forbes, will be remembered for equalling a record number of six wins.
In the early years of the popular competition the Brora/ Inverness pairing of Jim Miller and Jocky Thomson put their names on the Bowl six times times over the event's first 12 years. Then, after first winning in 1999, local Alan Cameron (45) and Inverness's Ewan Forbes (45) captured the trophy for a sixth time last weekend to match the Miller/Thomson years by beating the local pairing of Chris Gaittens (28) and Mike MacDonald (44) on the 17th green of the scratch final.
MacDonald, the local club secretary and his partner, had led the match-play qualifiers with excellent Saturday cards of 71 and 68. The other semi-finalists were John Forbes and Darren Hexley (Muir of Ord) 72-73, Cameron and E Forbes 72-77, David Joel and Bruce Thomson (Inverness) 77-75).  Missing out were the locals, James Fraser and Peter Cameron 78-76. 

It was a Sunday when, after the Channory Point was shrouded in a morning mist, the afternoon sunshine provided a very good final. In the mist, Cameron and Forbes survived a late rally from the Muir of Ord couple Forbes and Hexley to win at the 19th hole where the Muir pair visited the beach from the first tee. 
Gaittens and MacDonald booked their place in the final with 2 and 1 win in their semi-final against Inverness's Joel and Thomson when the Inverness visitors found bushes from the penultimate tee. 
In the final Cameron and Forbes surged three ahead after seven holes but the home pairing reduced the deficit to two after nine where the opposition required two shots to escape a bunker.  
But, fighting against two inward half wayward drives from Gaittens and missed birdie putt opportunities, they were not able to pull any more holes back and Cameron and Forbes went to the 17th tee holding a dormie lead. Both couples three putted the 17th green to allow Cameron and Forbes a 2 and 1 sixth triumph.
The semi-finalists of the Handicap Scottish Brewers Cup featured former local winning names. 2016 winners Steve Bassindale and Gary Moore were beaten in the semi-final on the last green by club mates Kevin Fowler and Mark Windsor. 
The only non-local couple to progress to the match-play were the handicap leading qualifiers from Strathpeffer, Scott Duff and Ben Laidlaw, but, after taking the holder, Del Newbigging, to an extra hole, were eliminated. 
Newbigging's winning partner from last year and also in 2015, Robbie Williamson, had to take his young son to a Ross County junior football match in Glasgow on Sunday so Newbigging had to start his defence with Greig Smith. 
It began very well in the final for the new partnership against Fowler and Windsor, three ahead after six holes and two after nine. But three inward half losses on the home stretch saw the holders go behind. 
Fowler, a former greenstaff member and losing semi-finalist, dug deep for a first win and it arrived when Newbigging and Smith lost their ball on the penultimate hole to lose 2 and 1.

PICTURE CAPTION: Scratch and handicap winners - back row: Alan Cameron (left), Ewan Forbes; front: Kevin Fowler (left), Mark Windsor.

Dornoch Junior Open cancelled
Sunday morning's sea mist also left a big field of  junior golfers disappointed at Royal Dornoch where the Junior Open was cancelled. With return travel to consider and other factors, the organising committee cancelled a later start. Due to a full fixture list and visitor bookings to comply with throughout the season, no new date can be found until next year.



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