Saturday, August 06, 2005

PRESTWICK ST. CUTHBERT GOLF CLUB - McBlain creates family record with championship victory

Prestwick St. Cuthbert Golf Club held their annual Club Championship finals night on Friday 5th August, with the finals of the Junior, Ladies Bronze, Gents 2nd Class, Ladies Championship and Gents Championship all being completed.

In the Junior Championship Graeme Gimson, fresh from his 5th place in the Ayrshire Boys Championship on Thursday and victory in the Tom Lehman event at Troon on Tuesday, faced the challenge of Blair Caddis. Caddis was under pressure from the start against the form player, losing the first hole and never really recovering as Gimson secured a 6 & 5 win, with figures of level par over the holes played.

The Ladies Bronze Championship featured the Lady Captain, Lorna Batchelor, who faced former Ladies Captain Maureen Gillies.
The match was close over the early stages, but when Gillies found trees at the 8th, 9th, 12th and 13th holes, Batchelor gained the advantage, eventually running out the winner by 3 & 2

The Gents 2nd Class Championship featured James Dodds against Past Captain Jim Gillies. Jim Gillies appeared to have the trophy tightly in his grasp, going 5 holes up with 6 remaining, but Dodds staged an amazing fightback, taking five successive holes, including two birdie 2's, from the 13th to square the match with one hole to play.

With nerves playing a part, both players reached the final green in 4 shots before Dodds missed his putt for par. Gillies also missed his par putt and was conceded a bogey, and Dodds then holed his putt for a halved hole. Both players proceeded to the 19th hole, before it was pointed out to the referee by spectators that Dodds had incorrectly replaced his ball onbefore his final putt. Dodds immediately realised his mistake, and consequently the final hole, the match and the trophy was won by Jim Gillies, by one hole.

In the Ladies Championship, Marie White faced a difficult task against defending champion, and 17 times winner of the title, Catherine Malcolm. Despite figurs of 2 over par 38 to the turn, White found herself 3 holes down. Malcolm extended her lead with a birdie 3 at the 400 yard 11th hole, before winning the match, and securing her 18th title, by 6 & 4 on the 14th green. The standard of play was illustrated by the 7 birdies the finalists shared over the 14 holes played.

In the Gents Championship, former Junior Club Champions, Stephen McBlain and Kevin Fergusson met, with McBlain bidding to match his father Ian's win in the event in 1982.

A 20' birdie putt at the first hole gave McBlain the lead before Fergusson levelled at the second, only to see McBlain birdie the third to regain the lead. The match remained close, with McBlain edging further ahead, turning for home with a 2 hole lead. Despite his best efforts, Fergusson never levelled with McBlain again, and it was Stephen McBlain who won the Championship with a 4 & 3 victory.

McBlain's win proved something of a historical moment in the club, as he is though to be the first son of a former winner to win the Championship in the club's 106 year history.

In a match which was played in the best spirit of friendly competition, Fergusson, who is due to be Stephen McBlain's best man at his wedding next year, joked at the conclusion of play that the trophy was an early wedding present to his friend and rival.

The full list of results, and winners are :-

Graeme Gimson beat Blair Caddis 6 & 5

Lorna Batchelor beat Maureen Gillies 3 & 2

Leading Qualifier - Jim Smith
Beaten Semi Finalists - John Swiatek & Ronnie Doig
Final - Jim Gillies beat James Dodds 1 hole

Catherine Malcolm beat Marie White 6 & 4

Leading Qualifier - Kevin Fergusson
Beaten Semi Finalists - Elliot Braddock & Brian Yates
Final - Stephen McBlain beat Kevin Fergusson 4 & 3

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