Friday, August 05, 2005

AYRSHIRE BOYS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP - Jamie Mackay grabs 2005 title in dramatic finish

Jamie Mackay (Kilmarnock Barassie) took the 2005 Ayrshire Boys Championship at Prestwick St. Nicholas on Thursday 4th August, edging out local member, Stuart Robin, in dramatic fashion.

On a difficult day for scoring, with blustery wind and rain showers, the capacity field of 71 players served up some excellent returns and notable performances in the 55th annual championship, played over 36 holes of strokeplay.

Craig McCall (Prestwick St. Nicholas) set the early pace, with a 3 over par 72 giving him an excellent nett score of 65.

Former Champion Cameron Gray (West Kilbride) remained in the hunt after an opening round of 74, which was marred only by a quadriple bogey 8 at the 8th hole, where Gray found the water of the Bellrock Quarry twice.

Stuart Robin (Prestwick St. Nicholas) with 72 and Stuart Henderson (Kilmarnock Barassie) with 73 were the only players in the middle of the field who challenged for the lead, before the eventual winner, Jamie Mackay returned the best score of the morning, his one over par 70 including an inward half of 33, one under par, courtesy of 3 birdies in the last 5 holes.

Graeme Gimson (Prestwick St. Cuthbert), fresh from his victory in the Tom Lehman event at Troon onTuesday, kept up his good recent form with a 2 over par 71 in the morning round.

With the rain holding off well, but an increasingly strong south westerly breeze, the players commenced their afternoon round, and it was former Ayrshire Boys matchplay champion, Nicky Sinclair (Kilmarnock Barassie) who set the early target, adding a 70 to his morning round of 75 for a 145 total.

7 handicapper Craig McCall (Prestwick St. Nicholas) maintained his form, which saw him return the best nett score in the morning, adding a 74, nett 67, to his morning round to give him a total of 146 and a nett score of 132, which ultimately won him the honour of returning the best nett score of the day by a clear 5 shots.

Nicky Sinclair's lead in the championship was short lived, lasting only 3 games before Cameron Gray edged ahead by one stroke. In his afternoon round, Gray maintained the unusual scoring exploits from his morning round. A ball out of bounds from the first tee saw Gray run up a triple bogey 7 at the first in the afternoon, although he recovered well to reach the turn in 40. With a following wind for the last 6 holes, Gray took full advantage, returning in an excellent 5 under par score of 29, which included 5 birdies in 6 holes from the 13th, for a best of the day round of 69 and a 143 overall total.

Stuart Robin, who won the St. Nicholas Boys Open over the same course 10 days ago had 6 threes in an inward half of 31, 4 under par, for a second round return of 70 and a championship total of 142, to take the lead from Cameron Gray.

With only three players looking likely to challenge Robin for the title, the first opportunity fell to Stuart Henderson (Kilmarnock Barassie). After a first round 73, Henderson reached the turn in the afternoon in 36, one over par. Birdies at three successive holes from the 15th took Henderson to one under par for his afternoon round, with one hole to play. The 203 yard par 3 final hole, which had caused problems for many players throughout the day, proved to be Hendersons downfall, with the Barassie boy unable to do better that a double bogey 5 for an afternoon return of one over par 70, leaving him one off the pace in the race for the title, on 143.

Despite his lead after the morning round, Jamie Mackay's challenge looked to faulter early in the second round when he bogeyed two of the forst four holes. Despite these setbacks, mackay reached the turn in 38 to maintain his hopes as he turned for home. 4 pars from the turn were followed by a bogey 5 at the long par 4, 14th hole to put Mackay4 over par with 4 holes remaining. Needing to complete the final 4 holes in one under par to tie Stuart Robin's score, Mackay had a par at the short par 4 15th, before getting the all important birdie three at the 16th hole. a par at the penultimate hole took Mackay to the final tee with the knowledge, relayed to him by fellow competitors, that he required a par three to tie Stuart Robin.

The final hole, a 203 yard par three, playing into the teeth of the wind, was far from a certain par finish, but Mackay rose to the challenge, striking his tee shot to within 15 feet of the hole. Despite the pressure, mackay took great care to prepare before dispatching his birdie put for a superb birdie two at the last and a championship total of 141 to take the outright lead.

Only Graeme Gimson (Prestwick St. Cuthbert) looked likely to provide a challenge to mackays return, but an outward half of four over par (39) proved too much to recover from. Despite a fine level par inward half of 34, Gimson's 73 left him three of the pace on 144.

Notable performances were also recorded by two 10 handicappers, Jonathon Martin (Kilmarnock Barassie) with 68-69 and Scott Clark (Ayr Belleisle) with 66-71 returning nett totals of 143 to take second and third nett prizes respectively.

The biggest improvement of the day between the two rounds was a massive 22 shots by Shaun Fallows (Troon Welbeck). The 6 handicapper had a nightmare round in the morning with a 28 over par return of 97. Despite his morning return, Fallows remained upbeat and was rewarded with a fine score of 75 in the afternoon.

The final prize of the day, a nearest the hole prize at the 18th hole in the afternoon round, was won by Gary Herbertson (Ballochmyle) who hit his tee shot to an impressive 8' 7" from the hole.

The Competition Scratch Scores for the two rounds were 70 (+1) in the morning and 69 (0) in the afternoon.

At the conclusion of the days play, Prestwick St. Nicholas G.C. Vice Captain, Stan Sstevenson presented prizes to the succesful competitors, before handing the trophy to the 2005 Ayrshire Boys Golf Champion, Jamie Mackay.

CHAMPION JAMIE MACKAY (Kilmarnock Barassie) 70-71 = 141

2nd SCRATCH STUART ROBIN (Prestwick St. Nicholas) 72-70 = 142

3rd SCRATCH CAMERON GRAY (West Kilbride) 74-69 = 143
4th SCRATCH STUART HENDERSON (Kilmarnock Barassie) 73-70 = 143

5th SCRATCH GRAEME GIMSON (Prestwick St. Cuthbert) 71-73 = 144

1st NETT CRAIG McCALL (Prestwick St. Nicholas) (7) 65-67 = 132

2nd NETT JONATHON MARTIN (Kilmarnock Barassie) (10) 68-69 = 137
3rd NETT SCOTT CLARK (Ayr Belleisle) 66-71 = 137

Nearest the pin at the 18th (afternoon round) - Gary Herbertson (Ballochmyle) – 8’ 7”

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