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Durrand stays on par to claim Summer League title at Thurso

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A LEVEL par in the penultimate round helped James Durrand on his way to the A&A Mackay Builders Ltd Summer League title at Thurso Golf Club.

After an impressive 48 points an earlier round, Durrand was the man to beat in round 20 of the league, but he held his own against a strong wind.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the competition was reduced from 26 to 21 rounds this year – but the total number of rounds played was still an amazing 1407 by 129 different players, aged from 11 to 87.

Chris Sutherland topped the leaderboard for a large part of the season, thanks to some excellent sub-par scores in the early rounds. Ryan Forbes also made his mark with a few great scores, the best of which was 45 points.

All three of these players saw their handicaps drastically reduced during the season.

Before last week’s last two closing rounds, Chris Sutherland and Ryan Forbes were tied at the top on 267 points. James Durrand and Alan Swanson were next on 264. Several other players were also in striking distance of the lead.

At this stage of the competition it becomes increasingly difficult for players to improve on their seven-round total. Most of the leaders already had six or seven scores at or near par so, in most cases, there was not a lot of room for improvement.

Significantly, James Durrand’s seventh best score was only 30 points, so there was a good chance for him to advance up the leaderboard.

The weather for the penultimate round, round 20, didn’t help the players as a strong wind blew across the course, making scoring difficult. Only seven players managed to score par or better.

James Durrand was one of these players and his level par 36 points saw him surge to a three-point lead at the top of the leaderboard as, not surprisingly, none of the other contenders managed to improve their points total.

Summer League round 20 results: 1 Alan Coghill 38 points; 2 Nicky Doherty 38; 3 Alan Simmonite 37; 4 Ronnie Gray 37.

So it was on to the 21st and final round. Conditions were again far from ideal. Once again, the strong wind made conditions very difficult and this was clearly reflected in the scoring with no player breaking par.

It was not surprising that no player managed to improve on their total points. So, with no changes to the leaderboard, James Durrand was crowned as the 2020 Summer League champion.

There’s no doubt that James’s 48 points in round four was a huge factor in his victory. It was the highest score in the Summer League since Gavin Souter scored 50 points in 2005.

James is the second member of his family to take the title, following his dad William who was the 2017 champion.

Summer League round 21 results: Jack Fidler 36 points; 2 Darren Wood 35; 3 Ross Williamson 35; 4 Gary Leonard 35.

Summer League final leaderboard: James Durrand 270 points; 2 Chris Sutherland 267; 3 Ryan Forbes 267; 4 Alan Swanson 264.

Ronnie Williamson Cup

Thurso Golf Club hosted the Ronnie Williamson Cup at the weekend, with 44 players taking part.

Kyle Reid’s excellent 40 points helped him to win by three strokes from Andy Lannon and Alan Kennedy. Jordan Youngson took fourth place with 36 points.

Ronnie Williamson Cup results: 1 Kyle Reid 40 points; 2 Andy Lannon 37; 3 Alan Kennedy 37; 4 Jordan Youngson 36.

Due to the disruption caused by Covid-19 this season, there were a few spaces on the fixture list. So, as a one-off competition, a three-round stroke play club championship is also being played. There are three categories, scratch, handicap and seniors.

The first round was played on Saturday in a wind of up to 40mph. Not surprisingly only three players broke par. Jack Fidler posted an early 79 (13) 66 to take what seemed an unassailable lead, but a welcome return to form from Lachie Sutherland saw him better Fidler’s score by two shots.

Sutherland’s 79 (15) 64 gave him his first win of the 2020 season.

Stroke Play Club Championship round one results: 1 Lachie Sutherland 79 (15) 64; 2 Jack Fidler 79 (13) 66; 3. Ross Sutherland 79 (11) 68; 4. Ross Williamson 96 (25) 71.

The final competition of the weekend was the Freswick Trophy on Sunday. Despite a limited field, two outstanding scores were posted.

Iain Dunnett’s 73 (7) 66 would have been good enough to win most days but he was pipped by Cameron Reid’s 76 (11) 65.

Freswick Trophy results: 1 Cameron Reid 76 (11) 65; 2 Iain Dunnett 73 (7) 66; 3 Alan Swanson 73 (2) 71; 4 Callum Mauchlen 91 (19) 72.

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