Sunday, April 28, 2019

AYRSHIRE STROKEPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP - Michael Smyth completes County 'Grand Slam' after marathon play off win at Loudoun

2019 Ayrshire Strokeplay Champion
Michael Smyth

Michael Smyth (Royal Troon) completed the grand slam of Ayrshire mens’ titles on Sunday 28th April 2019 when he won the Ayrshire Strokeplay Championship at Loudoun for the first time in his career, following a win at the fifth play off hole after the winning score was tied with Jack Broun (Ayr Belleisle) over the regulation 36 holes.

Smyth, who had previously been beaten in a play off for the title in 2011 at West Kilbride, led the field after the opening round with a two under par 66, which left him a single shot clear of Malcolm Pennycott (Royal Burgess), Craig Hamilton (Ballochmyle), Darren Mallinson (Irvine) and Tommy McInally (Loudoun).

Four other players matched par in the opening round, Jack Broun (Ayr Belleisle), Scott Brown (Prestwick St Cuthbert), Keith Hamilton (Ayr Belleisle) and Blair Morton (Royal Troon).

In the mid-afternoon, Steven McEwan (Caprington) set the target when he followed his opening round of 69 with a second round of 66 for a one under par aggregate of 135 which ultimately gave him third place overall.

William Fleming
best round of the day
The plaudits for the best round of the afternoon however went to William Fleming (Ballochmyle) who had birdies at the opening two holes to be out in 34 and added two more birdies at the eleventh and fifteenth in the inward half for a bogey free round of 64, four under par. This return, added to his morning round of 73 left Fleming in fourth place overall at the close of play on 137, by virtue of the better second round over Greg Vernon (Kilmarnock Barassie) who scored 69 & 68 and Tommy McInally who had rounds of 67 & 70 for the same total.

Steven McEwan’s target score of 135 was ultimately only overtaken by two players in the field. Firstly Michael Smyth added a second round 67 to his opening 66 for a three under par score of 133 and shortly afterwards Jack Broun shot a second round of 65, three under par, for the same overall total of 135. To ensure that the destination of the trophy and the 2019 title would be decided by a play off.

Michael Smyth & Jack Broun
Ready for the play off

A three hole play off over the thirteenth, eleventh and twelfth between Smyth and Broun commenced, with the match continuing into sudden death holes should the scores be tied after the initial three hole decider.

At the opening hole of the play off both players hit great drives with Smyth hitting his second to 25 feet from the hole and Broun lying just a few feet closer on the same line, pin high. Despite fine efforts, both players birdie efforts failed to drop and both parred the hole.

At the par three eleventh, the second play off hole, Broun’s tee shot finished 15 feet from the hole whilst Smyth’s was on the front of the green, a little short and left. A superb second to the holeside secured Smyth’s par three, and the players remained tied when Broun’s birdie effort faied to drop.

The final hole of the three hole play off, the twelfth hole of the course,  Broun’s tee shot looked to be in the burn whilst Smyth opted to play safe and hit an iron from the tee to 50 yards short of the green, which he followed with a chip to 20 feet from the hole.

On reaching his ball, Broun found it had come to rest three inches from the sleeper on right side of the burn, and with one foot either side of the burn he played an incredible chip to 10ft high and right of the pin.

Smyth’s birdie putt died right at the hole and failed to drop, leaving Jack Broun with a 10 foot putt for the trophy and title. His putt however slipped past the left of the hole and the players remained tied.
The match continued into sudden death holes over the same three hole circuit. And at the first extra hole, the thirteenth hole of the course, both players again hit great drives.

Smyth’s approach looked excellent, but was slightly long and his ball flew straight over flag to leave him with a 25 foot putt for birdie, whilst Broun’s approach was also straight at the flag but pulled up 15 feet short of the hole.

Smyth birdie effort was good but failed to drop and ran three feet past the hole but he still remained in the match when Broun’s birdie putt missed the left edge of the hole and he secured another par four. A solid putt for his par from Smyth took the match to the short eleventh hole on the course, the fifth play off hole to decide the destination of the 2019 championship.

Playing first, Broun hit another great shot from the tee but it drifted just slightly left of target, hopped on the green and bounced into a greenside bunker and came to rest there, pin high and 30 feet from the flag.

Smyth didn't fully connect with his iron from the tee and for a moment it looked destined for the burn, but caught the front edge of green and came to rest leaving him a huge putt of around 65 feet to negotiate for a birdie two.

On the green but furthest from the hole, Smyth played first and hit a magnificent put within 10 inches of the cup for a cast iron par three, which left Broun needing to get up and down from the bunker to keep this title hopes alive.

Broun gave himself a chance with a wonderful bunker shot to 5 feet past the hole, but his par putt, towards the left edge of the hole, never moved and failed to drop and with it his title hopes ended and Michael Smyth became the 2019 Ayrshire Strokeplay Champion.

At the conclusion of the play off, Ayrshire Golf Association Vice President Scott Gilchrist thanked all involved in presenting a successful championship before the Ayrshire Strokeplay Championship Trophy was presented to the winner Michael Smyth by past President Alasdair Malcolm.

The first Strokeplay Championship win by Michael Smyth adds to his four Matchplay Championship wins (2011, 2013, 2015 & 2018), two Order of Merit titles (2011 & 2017) and one Champion Of Champions Trophy win (2017).

The CSS for both rounds was 69 (no change).

All the scores:-

PLAYER CLUB H/C Rd. 1 Scr Rd. 2 Scr Total Scr
Jack Broun Ayr Belleisle +3 68 65 133
Michael Smyth Royal Troon +4 66 67 133
Steven McEwan Caprington 0 69 66 135
William Fleming Ballochmyle 2 73 64 137
Greg Vernon Kilmarnock Barassie +1 69 68 137
Tommy McInally Loudoun +2 67 70 137
Blair Morton Royal Troon 0 68 70 138
Craig Hamilton Ballochmyle +2 67 71 138
John Haggarty Loudoun +1 69 70 139
Malcolm Pennycott Royal Burgess 0 67 72 139
John Shanks Irvine +2 72 68 140
Scott Brown Prestwick St Cuthbert +1 68 72 140
Keith Hamilton Ayr Belleisle +2 68 72 140
Darren Mallinson Irvine 0 67 73 140
Greg Watson West Kilbride 1 70 71 141
Shaun Hedger West Kilbride 0 70 71 141
Robbie Muir Kilmarnock Barassie +2 69 72 141
Stuart Robin Prestwick St Cuthbert +2 69 72 141
Barry O'Rourke Loudoun 2 72 70 142
Ruben Lindsay Ayr Belleisle 0 74 69 143
Stephen Murray Troon Portland 1 74 69 143
Graeme Gimson Prestwick St Cuthbert +1 71 72 143
Stuart Miller Kilmarnock Barassie 1 69 74 143
Steven Stamper Turnberry 0 74 70 144
Paul Denim Loudoun 1 73 71 144
George Robertson Irvine +2 72 72 144
Craig Telfer Prestwick St Cuthbert 0 72 73 145
Ewan Milligan Kilmarnock Barassie 4 73 73 146
Sandy Walker Kilmarnock Barassie 2 73 73 146
Adrian Orton Turnberry 2 72 74 146
Aidan Long Ayr Belleisle 0 71 75 146
Andy Irvine Troon Welbeck 2 71 75 146
Greg Cathie Irvine 2 71 75 146
Chris Bone Loudoun 3 70 76 146
Sean Addie Ayr Belleisle 0 76 71 147
Mark Watt Prestwick St Cuthbert 2 75 72 147
Barry McDonnell Caprington 2 74 73 147
Gareth Lamb Irvine 0 74 73 147
Iain Brown Largs 0 72 75 147
Jonny Stevenson Troon St Meddans 2 71 76 147
Kevin Thomas Troon Welbeck 2 78 70 148
Scott Gilchrist Loudoun 3 76 72 148
Alan McLean Kilbirnie Place 1 74 74 148
Andrew Gibson Irvine 0 73 75 148
Jim McCullagh Kilmarnock Barassie 2 73 76 149
Kyle Dunn Prestwick St Nicholas 3 73 76 149
Gavin Chesney Kilbirnie Place 3 75 75 150
Greg Telfer Prestwick St Cuthbert +1 78 73 151
John Rushbury Royal Troon 2 78 73 151
Paul Giffney Ardeer 3 77 74 151
Stewart Russell Royal Troon 3 73 78 151
Ross McDonald Kilmarnock Barassie 4 78 75 153
Rob Yorston Loudoun 5 77 77 154
Gary Steele Prestwick St Cuthbert 0 75 79 154
Jay Houston Prestwick St Nicholas 2 75 80 155
Joe McSorley Prestwick St Cuthbert 2 80 77 157
John McCracken Kilmarnock Barassie 3 81 78 159
Craig Adams Irvine 3 n/r 0 n/r
Steven Wallace Prestwick St Cuthbert +1 n/r 0 n/r
Andrew Campbell Kilmarnock Barassie 2 79 n/r n/r
Callum Irving Ayr Belleisle 4 75 n/r n/r
Iain Fraser Troon Portland 2 77 n/r n/r
Ross Caddis Kilmarnock Barassie 2 79 n/r n/r

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