Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Jonathon Keith and June Nicol are Inverness club champions
        Jonathon Keith and June Nicol with their Inverness Golf Club championship trophies. Picture by Robin Wilson
Jonathon Keith and June Nicol are Inverness Golf Club's respective men's and women's champions for this season after a day of finals last Saturday. Keith was last champion in 2016 but for Nicol it was a first time success.
David Joel, as defending champion and leading qualifier with scores of 68 and 65 and Keith 63 and 71,were seeded first and second in the draw to set up a repeat final of 2016 but when Joel went out in the second round on the final green to club secretary Ewan Forbes, who then lost to Keiran MacKay at the 19th in the semi-final, it set up a men's final between two 22-year-olds.
Following tradition, the Inverness club scratch final is over 36 holes and it became a trial of four nines. Keith raced away to a five-hole lead through the first nine holes of the morning round, only to be pegged back to just a one-hole lead through eight of the inward holes.
MacKay had won the 10th with birdie and the next hole where his opponent inadvertently moved his ball in the rough with his caddy-car. Although losing the 12th to par, MacKay then won the 13th,15th and 16th holes.
A bunkered second shot by MacKay on the 18th gave Keith a two-hole lead before the break for lunch and the start of the second 18 holes. Again Keith came out of the blocks at speed and had reinstated his five-hole lead by the ninth green. This time there was to be no recovery from MacKay and holed birdie putts on the 10th and 11th and greens increased Keith's lead to seven.
The loss of the next hole to a MacKay birdie was answered by the overall better player on the day with a deserved championship winning birdie 2 on the 13th green and a 7 and 5 winning margin.    
The 18-hole men's handicap final finished on the penultimate hole where first time winner Kevin Carpenter won three of the first four inward half holes to establish a two- hole lead and despite losing a ball on the par three 15th hole won back the next hole to beat William MacKay by 2 and 1.
Like the men's champion, first time ladies champion June Nicol enjoyed as easy path to her win. She won her tough test in the semi-final beating former champion Marion Howieson 5 and 4.
In the final against Alison Gowie, June cruised to a 12th hole win. The ladies handicap winner Anne Morrison had to go an extra two holes before she overcame Ruth Mackenzie on the par three second hole.  
Already junior champion at his second club, Nairn,  promising teenager Calum Daun (14) had qualified in sixth place for the men's championship but went out to semi-finalist Ruaridh Greenwood. Making it all the way to the final of the junior final, Calum doubled up beating clubmate Ewan Cuthbert (14). In the junior handicap final Seth Anderson (13) beat Conor Moran (15) after three extra holes.

 Inverness’s talented juniors with their championship trophies. Left to right – Seth Anderson  (13), junior  handicap winner, Calum Daun (14), junior scratch winner, Ewan Cuthbert (15),  junior scratch runner-up, Conor Moran(15), handicap runner-up.




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