Willie Cruickshanks and David Brash kicked-off the evening’s quarter finals proceedings on a fine night – a bit more wind than the previous evening ….and not a midge in sight. Credit to all the players for giving the spectators another exciting and quality night of golf.
Willie has had a storming championship so far and tonight was no exception. Although David held held his own for the first nine holes, he had a poor start to the back nine and Willie took full advantage closing the game out on the 14th green. Willie clearly has his game in good shape at the right time going into the C class semi- finals tonight.
Following behind was Stephen Burns and new member Liam McCracken. Experience versus youth and what a great match ensued. Stephen took the lead at the third but quick wins in succession put Liam one up at the 5th. Not to be outdone Stephen replied with a birdie at six and took the lead again at seven to go 1 up. Liam won nine and the match was all square again at the turn. Stephen went two up quickly in the back nine and although Liam tried to peg back with a birdie and a twenty- five footer at fifteen Stephen birdied 16 to remain two up. Liam reduced the deficit to one but Stephen held his nerve and won the last, what a great match!
In game three Robert Smart came out the traps very quickly against veteran Joe Kennedy and was 5 up after seven holes with some fine golf and Joe’s normally reliable putter deserting him.
But Joe produced a spirited fight-back winning eight, nine and eleven to reduce the deficit to two but found trouble at the 15th and meat Robert was dormie from there. Joe took the game to seventeen but a missed birdie opportunity meant Robert held on to book his place in tonight’s semi-finals.
Ian Wightman and Stewart Mackay contested the last of the C Class matches and it was certainly a game of “two halves”. Stewart played his best golf of the night on the front nine. He took a quick lead at the first and added to his lead round the top loop and came back over the bridge 2 up. A combination of Ian upping his game and Stewart leaving his game on the other side of the bridge led to Ian completing turning the match on it’s head in the back nine and winning the game at the 16th. Great comeback from Ian!
In the first of the B Class quarter-finals past Captain Jim Stewart was paired against John Kerr and both produced a high standard evenly contested game played in a great sporting manner.
Jim landed first blow with a birdie at 4 but John responded immediately with a birdie of his own at 5 holing a monster putt for two.
Jim took a one hole advantage going into the turn but another birdie from John at the par five 11th saw the game even again. Jim birdied twelve, but John squared again at 13. A fine up and down at 15 saw John take the lead for the first time in the match and after Jim found trouble at seventeen John closed the game out 2 &1.
Another closely contested game followed between Alan Thomson and Brian Halliday. Brian took an early hole but Alan replied with a stunning tee shoot at the third to within a foot ( see pic below)
to reduce the deficit to one. It was nip and tuck all the way with Alan nudging ahead at the turn and it stayed until Brian levelled the match at 16. Pars by both at the final two holes saw the first match of the night go to sudden death with Alan winning the first extra hole to book his place in the semi -finals.
Aaron Smith came into his match with Craig Stevens in great form as one of the leading qualifiers. The game was fairly evenly match until the eighth where Aaron edged ahead but a bad run of holes for Craig missing putts on nine and ten , driving OOB at eleven and finding sand at twelve put paid to his hopes on the night with Aaron closing out the game at the 13th.
In the final match , arguably the tie of the night in the B Class, saw stalwarts Alan Maxwell and Ronnie Stuart battle it out for a semi final place.
Alan started really strongly winning the first three holes and although Ronnie halted momentum briefly Alan raced to the turn in 38 and was 5 up.
It was clear that Ronnie was struggling with injury but he rallied winning the tenth but Alan regained momentum at eleven and a birdie at twelve saw him go dormie.
One last effort from Ronnie saw him chip in on thirteen to reduce the deficit but Alan did enough on fourteen to finish the match. Ronnie will be disappointed his injury hampered his performance and gave Alan an easier night than expected.
…and on to the A Class matches.
First up was Chris Curran and Craig Galloway and what a game Craig gave young Chris.
An extremely close game with neither playing have more than a 1 hole lead throughout the game .
Birdies exchanged between both players on 3, 4, 7 and 11 left the game all square through 15 holes .
Chris birdied 16 and Craig 17 for the game to be all square going up the last.
Craig had a birdie putt on 18 to win the game but was 1 roll away from dropping. Chris holed a clutch putt on 18 to extend the game and his experience pulled through on the 1st extra hole to win with a solid par
Arguably the tie of the night was the match between Sid Curran and Fraser Jervis.
Fraser took the early exchanges with a birdie at the 5th with Sid kicking himself for missing a couple of short putts earlier in the match.
Fraser went 2up after seven where Sid found tree trouble. However Sid hit back with a fantastic birdie at nine after finding the green in two.
With Fraser in trouble at eleven Sid took full advantage and levelled the game. He then drove the 12th green to within five feet and although he missed for eagle his birdie was good enough to go 1up. Fraser hit back immediately at 13 and with the game on a knife edge Sid drove seventeen to put pressure on Fraser winning the hole with a birdie. Sid did enough on the last to edge out Fraser who as always gave everything to win the game. Great standard of golf again from both.
Scott O’Hagan and Billy Saunders followed the tie of the round and it was Scott who took the game by the scruff of the neck with birdies at four, five and six to take a commanding lead. Billy played steadily throughout but couldn’t land a blow and Scott closed out the game at the fourteenth with a straightforward par.
Nick Henderson and Greg Ronald concluded the A class ties and it was Nick who booked his place in the semi-finals with a win at the 17th. Nick landed first blow with a birdie at the first but Greg responded with a brilliant eagle at four. Nick edged ahead at the turn with a couple of loose tee-shots from Greg. In a closely fought back nine holes were exchanged back and forth but Nick went back to a two hole lead with a birdie at 16 and a par on seventeen was enough to win the tie.
Another great night of golf this week …roll on the semi-finals tonight.
Best of luck to all the semi –finalists tonight and well played all the other players for their fantastic efforts to make it through this far.
(Photo link will be sent to all members via email communications and our thanks to Peter Baird for being chief photographer yesterday)