Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Gary Esson and Newmachar tour pro tie for Montrose Links victory

JOHN DUFF'S NINTH WIN SETS NORTH EAST

ALLIANCE ONE-SEASON RECORD

Today's picture of John Duff in the Montrose Mercantile GC clubhouse (Cal Carson Golf Agency picture).
By COLIN FARQUHARSON
Newmachar tour pro John Duff and Portlethen amateur Gary Esson both returned one-over-par 70s at bright but very breezy Montrose Links today (Wed) to head a field of 87 players in the 21st fixture of the 2016-17 North-east Golfers' Alliance season.
It was Duff's ninth win of the campaign (five shared, four outright) which puts him one clear of Chris Campbell who scored eight Alliance wins 17 years ago.
It was an eagle 3 (drive, eight-iron, 6ft putt) at the par-5 15th, playing downwind, that made all the difference for Duff (35-35) who had bogeyed the fifth, 11th and 13th and, on the 14th tee, was trailing Esson by a shot or two.
Esson, in the first group off the tee at 8.15am, certainly played when the westerly wind was at its strongest so he did very well to birdie the second, fifth and 15th in halves of 34 and 36.,
Esson and Duff, who earned £125 each, finished two shots clear of joint third placed John Nicolson (Hazlehead) (34-38), who shared the best outward half with Gary Esson, and pros Colin Nelson (Mackenzie Shop) (36-36) and Kris Nicol (Dunes Golf Centre) (35-37). Nicol was heading for at least a 70 until he ran up a triple bogey 6 at the short 16th with several putts.
Tartan Tour supremo Greig Hutcheon killed his victory hopes with bogeys at the first and second and a double bogey at the fourth, turning in six-over 40. He came home in one-under 34 (joint best inward half alongside Brian Nicolson), but it was too little, too late.

There were 16 No Returns in a field of 87 starters.

REMAINING NORTH-EAST ALLIANCE FIXTURES

MARCH
1 Fraserburgh
8 Duff House Royal
15 Portlethen (Championship Round 1)
22 Craibstone (Championship Round 2)
23 Craibstone (Foursomes: qualifiers from championship)
29 McDonald Ellon

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