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Hole in one for Macdonald as McLeod lifts Ulbster Cup at Thurso

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Ian Macdonald holed his 6-iron tee shot during round seven of Thurso Golf Club's Summer League.
Ian Macdonald holed his 6-iron tee shot during round seven of Thurso Golf Club's Summer League.

The latest fixtures at Thurso Golf Club were again played in testing conditions with a strong south-westerly breeze blowing across the course. Also, with the course also playing longer than of late, scoring was more conservative than it has been recently.

On Thursday (July 16) the latest instalment of the A&A Mackay Builders Summer League was played.

A large field of 83 produced the usual mix of excellent scores, some notable shots and many cases of what might have been.

In fourth place was Ryan Forbes with a two-under-par 38 points. Forbes seems to have got over his temporary slump and has now managed to get his handicap down to 19, a full eight shots lower than at the start of the season.

In the bronze medal position was Ian Macdonald, also with 38 points, but with a better back nine than Forbes. Macdonald’s back nine was helped considerably at the par-three 14th hole where he holed his 6-iron tee shot for his first hole in one.

In the runner-up spot was Ian MacPhee. He managed to keep a six off his card in two very steady halves of 39 and 40 to give him his 39-point total.

The winner’s circle this time belonged to Neil Rigg. After a poor start, Rigg settled down to produce some excellent scoring.

A good run from the fifth to ninth got him to the turn in a one-under-par 19 points. The good scoring continued on the back nine, helped by three consecutive threes at holes 12, 13 and 14, with 21 points accrued to give the winning total of 40 points.

Summer League round seven results: 1 Neil Rigg, 40 pts; 2 Ian MacPhee, 39; 3 Ian Macdonald, 38; 4 Ryan Forbes, 38.

After seven rounds the overall Summer League leader board is beginning to take shape. Each player counts his best six scores to give him his total.

Chris Sutherland leads the way after some great scores so far. His total of 222 points is six under par and includes four sub-par rounds.

Hard on Sutherland’s heels is Chris Williamson on 218 points. Ryan Forbes lies in third on 211 points.

However, it is early days and, with another 11 rounds scheduled, there are many players who must fancy their chances of climbing the leader board.

Saturday saw round one of the two-round aggregate score Ulbster Cup. This also doubled up as the third round of this year’s club championship.

Despite the very strong wind, which did not relent all day, 75 hopeful golfers turned up hoping to beat the elements and their handicaps. Only four players managed to achieve their goals.

Ed Wyllie, who has found a bit of form recently, had an excellent front nine of 36 on his way to 75 (7) 68 and fourth place.

In taking third place, Scott Mackay enhanced his chances of qualifying for the club championship with a very tidy 83 (15) 68.

Runner-up Ross Williamson, who only received his handicap recently, had a shot to spare with his score of 94 (26) 68. Williamson’s card was somewhat erratic to say the least, the low point being a 10 at the long fourth and the high point a birdie two at the previous hole.

The player who handled the conditions better than anyone else was undoubtedly Peter Sangster. Sangster, whose confidence must have been high after the previous week’s round of 65, posted the day’s best nett score and also the best gross score of 70 (3) 67.

Only a bogey five at the last prevented another sub-70 round but it did not stop his handicap from being reduced from three to two.

Ulbster Cup round one results (club championship round three): 1 Peter Sangster, 70 (3) 67; 2 Ross Williamson, 94 (26) 68; 3 Scott Mackay, 83 (15) 68; 4 Ed Wyllie, 75 (7) 68.

Round two of the Ulbster Cup was played on Sunday where players had to contend not only with the strong wind but also some passing showers. Some new faces appeared among the winners for the first time this season as well as some familiar ones.

James Durrand, with halves of 44 and 43, took fourth place with 87 (20) 67.

Walter Rutherford posted another good score for third place with 78 (11) 67 to continue his fine form.

Harvey Cowe, playing with Rutherford, posted a season’s best so far 81 (15) 66 to pip his partner for second place. Cowe had the distinction of parring all five of the par threes.

Club secretary Jim McLeod took the top honour, though, with his commendable 78 (13) 65. A super front nine of 37, four under his handicap, set up the winning score.

This was not only the best round of the day but also, coupled with his 83 (13) 70 on Saturday, gave McLeod a winning total of 135 to lift the Ulbster Cup.

Ulbster Cup round two results: 1 Jim McLeod, 78 (13) 65; 2 Harvey Cowe, 81 (15) 66; 3 Walter Rutherford, 78 (11) 67; 4 James Durrand, 87 (20) 67.

Ulbster Cup overall results: 1 Jim McLeod, 135; 2 Ed Wyllie, 137; 3 Donald Sutherland, 138; 4 Walter Rutherford, 138.

This weekend’s fixtures: Saturday – July Medal (club championship round four); Sunday – Summer League round nine.

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