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Birdie blitz helps Sutherland achieve an exceptional score in Summer League

By Ali Morrison

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The A&A Mackay Builders Summer League at Thurso Golf Club continues to go from strength to strength with last Thursday’s round four attracting 97 entrants. Despite a strong southerly breeze for most of the day, scoring was again excellent – probably not surprising considering the size of the field.

Chris Sutherland took fourth place and ensured a healthy handicap cut with his round of 40 points. In third place was Warren Gordon, who went one better in scoring 41 points. Gordon’s opening nine holes featured no fewer than four birdies, giving him 24 points at the turn.

His putter cooled somewhat on the homeward nine, scoring 17 points to give him his 41-point total.

Gary Mackay took the runner-up spot, also with 41 points, but with 21 points on the back nine.

As the season is progressing it is becoming apparent that it will take an exceptional score to win a round of this year’s Summer League. This week’s winner, Donald Sutherland, definitely met the requirements to win.

A fairly poor start had Sutherland three over par after five holes and sitting on nine Stableford points. What followed was, to say the least, very impressive.

Stephen Williamson holed his six-iron tee shot at the 158-yard ninth hole during Saturday’s medal competition at Thurso.
Stephen Williamson holed his six-iron tee shot at the 158-yard ninth hole during Saturday’s medal competition at Thurso.

Three consecutive birdies, at the sixth, seventh and eighth holes, and a par three at the ninth had him out in level par for 21 points. The birdie blitz continued on the back nine with birdies at 11, 15, 17 and 18.

Sutherland's only blip came, surprisingly, at the 13th with a bogey five. All this added up to an exceptional gross score of 68 and 44 Stableford points to take this week’s top prize.

Summer League round four results: 1 Donald Sutherland, 44 points; 2 Gary Mackay, 41; 3 Warren Gordon, 41; 4 Chris Sutherland, 40.

Saturday saw the first qualifying round of this year’s eagerly anticipated club championship. Golfers were again met with challenging conditions with wind, rain, thunder and lightning all featuring.

Scoring was a little more conservative in the field of 71.

Jim Sangster, in fourth place, continued his recent renaissance with the day's lowest gross score of 70 (3) 67. Only a bogey five at the last prevented Sangster from breaking the magical 70 barrier.

A common feature of this season’s play so far has been the number of young members who have been scoring well. Ben Durrand carried this on with his excellent 95 (28) 67 to take third place.

Runner-up was Stuart Bell who, playing in the worst of the weather, managed a very creditable 84 (17) 67. The highlight of Bell’s round was a birdie two at the 14th hole.

Jocky Begg has been pounding the practice mat recently and his hard work certainly paid off on Saturday. A bogey at the third hole was the only blemish in a front nine of one-over-par 36.

Four shots were dropped round Thurso’s own Amen Corner (10th, 11th and 12th holes) but Begg responded to steady the ship with a birdie three at the 13th. Steady play on the last five holes brought him home in 40 shots for a winning total of 76 (10) 66.

June Medal (club championship round one) results: 1 Jocky Begg, 76 (10) 66; 2 Stuart Bell, 84 (17) 67; 3 Ben Durrand, 95 (28) 67; 4 Jim Sangster. 70 (3) 67.

Also, during Saturday’s medal, the club had the first hole in one of the season. Stephen Williamson holed his six-iron tee shot at the 158-yard ninth hole. It was Williamson’s first ace after many years of trying.

Sunday’s competition was the rearranged J Waters Cup.

This is normally the men’s doubles matchplay competition but, as that has not been possible due the truncated season, this year it was played as a one-off Russian Stableford. This format is a two-man team Stableford. with the team total being a product of both players Stableford points at each hole.

Fifteen teams took part, again in difficult wind conditions. This was reflected in the scoring with no team being able to break par of 72 points.

The winners were young guns Jordan Bain and Kyle Reid, pipping the slightly older pair of Davy Irvine and Jim McLeod!

The father-and-son team of Warren and Tyler Gordon took third place.

J Waters Cup results: 1 Jordan Bain and Kyle Reid, 71 points; 2 Davy Irvine and Jim McLeod, 69; 3 Warren Gordon and Tyler Gordon, 60.

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