Monday, February 23, 2015

AGA ANNUAL DINNER - Winners honored at Irvine Bogside

The winners of the 2014 Ayrshire Golf Association county events were honored at the 2015 Annual Dinner & Presentation Of Trophies, which was held at Irvine Golf Club on Friday 20th February.

President James McMurdo chaired the proceedings, where the assembled company enjoyed an excellent meal before being entertained by the after dinner speaker, former Celtic and Scotland player Murdo Macleod, who gave a most entertaining presentation.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the trophies to the 2014 winners :-

The first trophy presented was the AYRSHIRE FOURBALL TROPHY.

45 member clubs contested the 2014 competition. The final was between 2012 winners Brunston Castle and Abbotsford, and was played in early September over the Irvine (Bogside) course.
With a final green victory, the 2014 champions from Brunston Castle, George & David McCulloch, wrote their names into the record books by becoming the first pair to win the Fourball Championship on two occasions, having previously triumphed in 2012. 

AYRSHIRE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP was contested by a field of 18 teams at Rowallan Castle in July. With a final team total of 150, which included a new course record by James Bunch, and taking the title by 3 shots, the 2013 winners were Prestwick Golf Club. The trophy was presented to Club Captain Bill McCreath. 

A total of 26 clubs entered the five AYRSHIRE SCRATCH LEAGUES.

Division 5 was contested by four teams in 2014 and the winners, in their first season back in the competition, were BRUNSTON CASTLE George McCulloch accepted the trophy on behalf of the club.

The Division 4 winners, who bounced straight back up the leagues after the disappointment of relegation the previous season and took the title by a clear margin were TROON ST. MEDDANS Golf Club. Team manager David Power uplifted the trophy.

Winners of  Division 3, taking their second successive league title after winning division 4 in 2013, and leading division 3 in 2014 from start to finish were TURNBERRY Golf Club, with Club Captain Douglas Holmes accepting the trophy on behalf of the club.

Division 2 was closely contested, but was finally won by a clear margin by PRESTWICK ST. CUTHBERT Golf Club, who gained promotion to the top division for the first time. Team Manager Steven Gillies accepted he trophy on behalf of the club.

Division 1 again proved exciting to the end with the destination of the title being decided on the final day. The 2014 winners, who denied defending champions Loudoun a hat trick of wins by the narrowest of margins, were the team from IRVINE Golf Club. Alan Connery uplifted the trophy on behalf of the team.

The AYRSHIRE SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP was held in 2014 at Prestwick St Cuthbert Golf Club in July with a field of 65 players competing and the winner of the Sandy Provan Trophy with a nett score of 67, winning the trophy from two other players by virtue of a better inward half, was ALLAN J. MERRY of The West Kilbride Golf Club.

The AYRSHIRE MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP was played in May over the Kilmarnock (Barassie) course. The final was between the 2008 winner Craig Hamilton of Ballochmyle and the 2008 Strokeplay champion Steven Wallace (Prestwick St Cuthbert), and with a 4 & 2 win, CRAIG HAMILTON took the 2014 title.

The 2014 AYRSHIRE STROKEPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP was played at Irvine Golf Club in April. With successive rounds of 72 for a 144 total, taking the title by two shots, JOHN SHANKS had the distinction of securing his third Strokeplay Championship win, and his second in succession over his home course, having won the championship the last time it was played at Irvine Golf Club in 2009.

The most poignant moment of the evening came with the presentation of the AYRSHIRE CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS trophy.

49 players started out in the quest for the 2014 Ayrshire Champion Of Champions title with Gary Bryden (Girvan) and Malcolm Pennycott (Whiting Bay) reaching the final.

The final was played at Royal Troon in August, and with a final green victory, GARY BRYDEN took the Champion Of Champions title for the first time, to add to his Strokeplay Championship success in 2001 and his many team successes in Ayrshire events.

Sadly, Gary passed away at the all too early age of 44 on 2nd January 2015, just a few months after his championship success. One of the gentlemen of Ayrshire golf, and one of the most committed of County players Ayrshire has ever had, Gary will be very much missed throughout Ayrshire and beyond, among his many golfing friends.

Gary’s Father Jim Bryden agreed to attend the dinner and accept the Champion Of Champions Trophy on behalf of his son, and the company rose to give a standing ovation as Jim Bryden collected the Champion OF Champions Trophy from President James McMurdo.

The presentations concluded with the prizes for the DOC THOM AYRSHIRE ORDER OF MERIT.

The Order Of Merit, for the Doc Thom Salver, had 16 counting events in 2014 including club, county and national competitions.

In third place in 2014, with a win at the Hillhouse Cup over Royal Troon and a share of top points in the Gowf Cup at Loudoun, for a total of 208.33 points, was the trophy holder Stuart Robin (Prestwick St Cuthbert GC).

The 2014 runner up, for the second successive year, with points in four events including a win in the Ballochmyle Open, for a total of 231.25 points, was CRAIG HAMILTON (Ballochmyle)

The 2014 winner of the Doc Thom Salver and the Ayrshire Order Of Merit title scored a total of 725 points from 7 events, which included  a win in the Ayrshire Strokeplay, Belleisle Cup, Brunston Open and Stevenson Trophy at Girvan. The 2014 winner, taking the Order Of merit title for the first time, was JOHN SHANKS (Irvine).

In concluding the presentation of prizes, John Shanks said a few words on bahalf of all the trophy winners, thanking the organisers of the evening and also paying his own personal tribute to his county team mate Gary Bryden.

The evening was brought to a close by Ayrshire Golf Association Vice President John Rushbury, who proposed a Vote Of Thanks.

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