Saturday, August 13, 2011

AYRSHIRE CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS - Brown ousts McInally after epic match

2011 Champion Of Champions
Scott Brown
Scott Brown (Turnberry) is the new Ayrshire Champion Of Champions Trophy holder after beating the defending champion Tommy McInally (Loudoun) at the third extra hole of an epic final at |Royal Troon on Friday evening, 12th August.

In beating his Ayrshire team mate, Brown prevented McInally from completing his second hat trick of wins in the event.

Playing from the championship tees which stretched the course to nearly 7200 yards, it was Scott Brown who took the early lead with a birdie three at the 391 yard second hole, but over the following four holes Brown made a few errors and with McInally producing steady par golf, it was the holder who won successive holes from the third through to the sixth to take a three hole lead in the match.

Brown won the seventh hole with par but McInally immedietly restored his three hole advantage with a birdie two at the eighth, and maintained this lead to the turn when the ninth hole was halved in par.

Brown had an uphill struggle as the players turned for home but as McInally began to struggle from the tee, Brown took the eleventh and twelfth with pars to reduce the defecit to one hole and squared the match for the first time since the third hole with a birdie two at the fourteenth.

With McInally again finding trouble at the fifteenth, Brown took the hole to lead by one with two holes remaining. A half in par threes at the seventeenth left Brown one up with only the final hole to play, as rain began for the first time in the match.

At the final hole and with the rain making playing conditions increasingly unpleasant, Brown saw his drive find the bunker on the left that cost Greg Norman the 1989 Open Championship, whilst McInally was safely on the fairway. Whilst McInally found the putting surface with his approach, Brown was unable to do so and a three putt compounded his error, bringing a concession of the hole and taking the final to extra holes.

At the first extra hole, bot players secured par fours taking the final on to the twentieth hole. At the second extra hole, McInally was just off the green to the left with his approach whilst Brown found a greenside bunker on the right. Brown played an excellent bunker shot to within five feet of the hole and McInally followed in with an approach to a couple of feed. Brown Bravely holed his difficult par putt, which McInally dully follwed in to half the hole.

The players proceeded to the 457 yard eighteenth hole as rain continued to make playing conditions difficult. Both players found the right rough from the tee, but McInally found a poor lie which resulted in him being ablt to advance by a few yards only with his second shot, whilst Brown's approach drifted into a greenside bunker on the right, the third time he had found sand in four holes.

McInally played his approach just through the green and chipped up to within a few feet in four. As with his previous effort from the sand, Scott Brown played a superb bunker shot which came to rest just a few feet from the hole and he again holed his putt for a closing par to take the title from McInally at the 21st hole of the final, the third extra hole.

At the conclusion of the match, Ayrshire Golf Association President David Miller (Kilmarnock Barassie) paid tribute to both competitors and expressed thanks to Royal Troon for their continued support during their long association with the event, befor making presentations to both players and passing the trophy into the custody of the 2011 Ayrshire Champion Of Champions Trophy winner, Scott Brown.

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