Grant sees off his rivals in Castle Stuart competition
LOCH Ness Golf Club’s Gordon Grant is the new Castle Stuart Local Open champion in a record-breaking year for the competition.
Grant topped the field of 12 golfers who contested the final over the four-time Scottish Open course, winning by one point in a closely-fought match.
The nine-handicapper notched 36 stableford points to earn a narrow victory over nearest rivals Scott Duff (Strathpeffer Golf Club), Keith Dinwoodie (Inverness GC) and Muir Morton (Alness GC), who all finished on 35 points.
Consistency was the key to Grant’s victory, scoring at least one point on each hole, the only player in the field to do so. His win earns him two hospitality tickets for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane next year.
The seventh Castle Stuart Local Open attracted 208 golfers, the highest ever number, with qualifying rounds held over two days to determine the final line-up.
The traditional end of season event at the links, it has grown steadily since being launched in 2011 for golfers living in the Highland postcode areas IV, KW and PH19 – PH41.
Castle Stuart director of golf Jeremy Matte was thrilled by the success of this latest competition.
"Congratulations to Gordon on a great win," he said.
"The Local Open is always a keenly-anticipated event in our calendar and this year attracted an unprecedented number of entries, so to come out on top was a fantastic achievement."
This year’s other qualifiers were – Michael Russell, Gary Watt and John Maciver (all Inverness Golf Club); Mark Drummond, Gregg Smith and John Jack (all Fortrose and Rosemarkie GC); Michael MacDonald (Nairn GC) and Alasdair Grant (Isle of Skye GC).
This year during qualifying all players received a Castle Stuart welcome bag, including a Tomatin whisky miniature.
They also had chances to win vouchers to play Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay, Royal Dornoch and Nairn Golf Club in nearest-the-pin competitions.
*** INVERNESS golfers Derek McGrouther and Willie Hutcheon shared the first place in the low handicap section of the opening North Alliance fixture at Forres on Saturday.
Both playing from six handicap, they each returned nett 68s beside local member Steven Mitchell, off five.
In the next handicap section, Mike Lyle (Torvean) is making good progress to retaining the handicap aggregate trophy with a share of first place alongside Alan Boxx (Boat of Garten).
The North Alliance champion Jeff Wright (Forres), winner of the season’s opening fixture, claimed a second leading scratch place at the Forres fixture last Saturday.
However, he had to share the honours with local pair Graham Murray and Kyle Godsman on the one under par 69 mark.
Godsman recorded the most birdies over the 18 holes, five in all, while Moray and Wright had four each against three bogies, while Godsman dropped four shots in his round.
Jonathon Keith (Inverness) was four under par after 12 holes, but dropped six shots over his final six holes to end up back on 74.
Last week’s winner Derek Pitchforth (Nairn Dunbar) finished in a tie for second place with Boat of Garten professional Ross Harrower, while Inverness professional David Grindell was two shots further back on 72.
His his amateur club-mate Bruce Thomson finished alone in third place with a 71.
Leading scratch scores: 69 – G Murray (Moray), J Wright (Forres), K Godsman (Moray); 70 – D Pitchforth (Nairn Dunbar), R Harrower (pro) (Boat of Garten); 71 – B J Thomson (Inverness); 72 – D Hector (Elgin), D Joel (Inverness), D Grindell (pro) (Inverness); 73 – S Mitchell (Moray), J Shaw (Boat of Garten), I Murray (Boat of Garten), R Proctor (Forres); 74 – W Hutchison (Inverness), N Mcphie (Inverness), D Mcgrouther (Inverness), J Keith (Inverness), T Bell (Forres); 75 – A W Mair (Moray), B Robson (Moray), J Glass (Torvean); 76 – S Chisholm (Torvean), A Cameron (Fortrose and Rosemarkie), G H Hay (Boat of Garten); 77 – S Wilson (Inverness), S Mullen (Elgin), R Kinnaird (Boat of Garten), M Mcdonald (Boat of Garten), G Forsyth (Inverness), M Lyall (Torvean); 78 – D Gordon (Inverness), J P Westwood (Nairn Dunbar); 79 – T Madden (Elgin), L Reid (Fortrose and Rosemarkie); 80 – J A Grant (Grantown on Spey), A Casey (Moray), D Johnston (Moray).
Handicap section one (seven and under) – 68 – S Mitchell (Moray) (5), D Mcgrouther (Inverness)(6), W Hutchison (Inverness) (6); 69 – D Hector (Elgin) (3), N Mcphie (Inverness)(5); handicap section two (eight to 18) – 67 – A Boxx (Boat of Garten) (14), M Lyall (Torvean) (10); 69 – T Madden (Elgin) (10); 70 – R Hart (Grantown on Spey) (13), L Hutchison (Inverness) (11).