THERE was a good entry for the Gala Open – sponsored by G. & A. Barnie – at Wick with 67 gents and 12 ladies playing.
A strong southerly wind made scoring difficult on the back nine, with 22 gents having no returns, although later in the day the wind dropped and changed direction giving late starters the best of the conditions.
Most of the prizewinners were those who played late afternoon/early evening and all were from the host club.
Gordon Steven Jnr took full advantage of the better conditions to take first scratch with a superb two-under-par 67. Steven had a dream start with birdies at the first three holes, dropping only one shot at the fifth to go out in two-under-par 33. He came back in level-par 34 with another birdie at the 14th and a dropped shot at the 16th.
Second was Ron Taylor who returned a one-over-par 70, a magnificent score as he was out in the worst of the conditions.
Playing down wind, Taylor went out in one-under-par 34 with birdies at the first, third and seventh holes, and then played super golf into the wind to come back in two-over-par 36 which included another birdie at the 11th.
Gordon Steven Jnr (3) also had the best overall handicap score with a 64 but as he had won the scratch prize the overall handicap went to Stewart Busby (16) with a terrific nett 66.
Handicap category one (zero to 12) was won by Ali MacKay (12) with a nett 69. MacKay had an amazing start with an eagle at the first hole but had a run of sixes from the sixth to the eighth to go out in 40 and played solid golf to come back in 41.
Chris Taylor (4) was second with a nett 70, beating Alan Forbes (4) and Alistair McDonald (11) on a better inward half. Taylor struggled to the turn in 39 but then played well to come back in 35 with a birdie at the 10th.
Handicap category two (13 to 28) was won by Wullie McLean (15) with a nett 69, beating Martin Sutherland (15) on a better inward half.
McLean made a great start with a birdie at the first to go out in 42 – despite sevens at the third and eighth hole followed by another seven at the 10th – and played well to come back in 42.
Sutherland (15) also made a great start with a birdie at the first, going out in 40. But like most competitors, he struggled back into the wind taking 44 strokes.
Third was James Harrold with a nett 71 and fourth was Mike MacDougall (16) with a nett 72.
Doreen Cormack had the best scratch score in the ladies’ competition with an 80 with Christine Hunter taking first handicap with a nett 67 followed by Carol Place with a nett 71.
Wick veterans’ Stableford competition – sponsored by D. Sutherland & Son – was played on Saturday with 23 gents and seven ladies entering.
The competition was won by senior veteran Harry Cormack (19) scoring 39 points, superb in the wet conditions.
The ladies’ competition was won by Margaret Sinclair with 39 points with Christine Hunter second on 38.
It will be another busy week at Wick Golf Club and with the course in fine condition it is hoped there will be big entries for the competitions. Today it is the seniors’ open followed tomorrow by a walk-on open which has many substantial prizes.
There is an extra medal on Sunday followed by the Caithness Golf Week on Tuesday.