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Ross gets the job done in William Simpson Memorial at Thurso

By Ali Morrison

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The A & A Mackay Builders Summer League at Thurso Golf Club is played over 18 rounds throughout the (shortened) summer season. Each player counts his best six rounds to give him his total score.

Five rounds have been played so far, so the first leader board will be published soon and it will be interesting to see which players are making a good start.

Eighty-one players set out in last Thursday’s round five. The weather, as it has been of late, was not conducive to good scoring, with a strong breeze blowing all day long. In golfing terms, it was a two to three club wind.

However, several players returned sub-par scores in the difficult conditions. Terry Mackay made an excellent start with 22 points on his first nine, and a respectable 17 points on the homeward nine gave a fine total of 39 points to take fourth place.

Jimmy Florence made it onto the podium for the first time this season with 40 points. Again, the score was built on an excellent front nine of 23 points.

Runner-up was past Summer League champion William Durrand. Two halves of 22 and 18 points gave him his 40-point total.

The winner was Chris Sutherland, with 41 points. Sutherland’s round contained no fewer than nine nett birdies.

This was his third sub-par round in this year’s competition and his odds of winning the title have been shortened considerably.

Summer League round five results: 1 Chris Sutherland, 41 points; 2 William Durrand, 40; 3 Jimmy Florence, 40; 4 Terry Mackay, 39.

Ross Sutherland had the winning score of 76 (12) 64 in Thurso Golf Club's William Simpson Memorial on Saturday.
Ross Sutherland had the winning score of 76 (12) 64 in Thurso Golf Club's William Simpson Memorial on Saturday.

Players competing in Saturday’s William Simpson Memorial were met with most unusual weather: there was barely a breath of wind. However, conditions were again far from ideal as there was a steady fall of rain throughout the day.

Ryan Forbes started the season in sensational style, resulting in his handicap being slashed by six strokes. Forbes has taken a few rounds to adjust to this lower handicap since then but came back with a bang on Saturday to record an excellent 87 (21) 66 and take fourth place, and another handicap cut.

Steven Lowe struggled at the two par-fives on the front nine but otherwise his play was very good as he returned 78 (12) 66 for third place.

Club champion Graeme Henderson hit a bit of form too – good timing, with the second round of his title defence coming up – posting a very steady 73 (7) 66.

Ross Sutherland has been threatening to do great things recently, only to fall away on the back nine. But on Saturday he managed to get the job done.

Racing to the turn in level-par 35, with two birdies, at the third and eighth, Sutherland played a steady back nine to give him his winning score of 76 (12) 64.

This was his best gross score to date and it gave him his first silverware of the season.

Alan Swanson had the day’s best gross score of 72, which included consecutive twos at the par-three 14th and the par-four 15th, where he holed his 9-iron approach shot.

Cameron Reid also had two twos on his card with birdies at third and fifth holes.

William Simpson Memorial results: 1 Ross Sutherland, 76 (12) 64; 2 Graeme Henderson, 73 (7) 66; 3 Steven Lowe, 78 (12) 66; 4 Ryan Forbes, 87 (21) 66.

The weather on Sunday again presented a tough challenge for the season’s first Texas Scramble competition. Nine teams of two braved the strong breeze and intermittent showers.

Siblings Kyle and Cameron Reid took third place with a nett 67.7. Runners-up were Andy Lannon and Michael Macgregor with nett 64.5, which included consecutive birdies at the eighth and ninth holes.

The winners were Neil Rigg and Ronnie Dunnett with an excellent nett 62.5, including four birdies. The winning score was made on the back nine where three seemed to be the magic number, a run of four consecutive threes helping the pair to come home in 33 shots.

This weekend sees the Stewart Cup on Saturday, July 11. It doubles up as the second round of this year’s club championship.

There is no official event on Sunday, July 12, but, weather permitting, some form of competition will be played. Members should keep an eye on the Thurso Golf Club Facebook page for details.

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