Nicky Klimas leader in three-horse race at Reay
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SATURDAY (June 11) saw the sun-bathed Reay links play host to the Caithness County Championship. The small field of players enjoyed warm, calm conditions and some impressive scores were recorded during the 36-hole event.
Over the course of the day, the bid for the scratch trophy developed into a three-horse race between Wick’s Nicky Klimas and the local duo of Lee Parnell and Gavin Sutherland.
Klimas, who last won the title in 2003, held the lead after a first-round 71 which included birdies at the fifth, ninth and 16th holes. Parnell produced a 72 which included birdies at the second, sixth and 13th holes, to lie a shot off the pace. Joining him on 72 was Sutherland whose round came to life after a string of three birdies between the 14th and 16th holes.
With the warm conditions undoubtedly taking their toll, the leaders were unable to reach the same heights during their afternoon rounds. Parnell in particular was slow to come out of the blocks after some lunch-time refreshments, and a disastrous 42 for the outward nine effectively ended his challenge. However, a splendid back nine of 35 did give Parnell some hope and was good enough to secure him the runners-up spot.
Sutherland also struggled to gain any consistency during his second round of 78, which included a solitary birdie at the sixth, and he finished in third place. This left the way clear for Klimas to deservedly take the trophy by four shots, following a second round of 74.
The quest for glory in the handicap competition was also a keenly fought affair, with two members from Reay’s blossoming junior section occupying the top spots. In first place was Tom Ross following rounds of nett 65 and 68 which belied his handicap of 13.
Runner-up and a stroke behind was Ross Munro with two steady rounds of nett 65 and 69.
The final place on the podium was reserved for another Reay player, Colin Munro, who followed his first round of 64 with a disappointing nett 71.
The day also provided an extra-special birthday present for 14-year-old Gregor Munro who managed a hole in one at the 18th during his first round, much to the delight of the onlookers in the 19th hole.