Friday, 17 March 2017


N.E. ALLIANCE MERIT FINISHES WILL ADD

SPICE TO WEDNESDAY'S CRAIBSTONE MENU 




By JOEL HOPWOOD
with additional words about the pro-am team event
near the end by Colin Farquharson
As our North-east Alliance season draws to a close, Craibstone - next Wednesday - is our last Order of Merit counting meeting of the year. McDonald Ellon will formerly close the season on the March 29 but is non-counting for Order of Merit purposes.

This year’s Order of Merits are being supported by the North-east Alliance themselves – who will provide £150 to each Order of Merit winner in the three sections, £125 to each runner up and £100 to each third ranked player. The above will, of course, be paid via cheque or voucher depending on the winners' status.

SCRATCH
With a lead close to 4,000 points, John Duff (Newmachar) has already secured the scratch Order of Merit win for the 2016/17 season, with a current points total of 9,034.
The battle for second place will be between Sean Lawrie (Portlethen) and Joel Hopwood (Royal Aberdeen), who currently sit on 5,074 and 4,771 points respectively.
With a lead of over 300 pts, and a tied win at Portlethen on Wednesday, Lawrie (nephew of Paul) is surely the favourite. Currently in fourth place is Kevin Duncan (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) but Duncan is competing in the Pro Golf Tour (formerly EPD Tour) in Morocco so will be unable to make up the narrow points different between himself and Hopwood.
Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre, Inchmarlo) is  in fifth spot, with 3,982, meaning the maximum points total of 500 available at Craibstone couldn’t quite raise him to third position.  

CLASS 1
In Class 1, the winner has also already been decided: Scott Mackie (Kemnay) has a current points total of 4,630. He is 689 points ahead of 2nd placed Charlie Cassie of Nigg Bay. However, the battle for second place is teed up to be the most dramatic.
Cassie’s narrow lead of 17 points from Royal Aberdeen’s Colin Duffus can be leapfrogged by a single shot this Wednesday at Craibstone.
Second and third positions aren’t just to be decided by Cassie and Duffus – Craibstone’s John Borthwick could also put himself in the mix, albeit with an exceptional round, to make up the 354 points difference between himself and 3rd place Duffus.

CLASS 2
The only undecided Order of Merit winner comes from Class 2. Deeside’s David Lane and Malcolm Allan (Hazlehead) will be battling out for the title – having separated themselves from the rest of the section.
Lane currently leads with a points total of 7,323 – a mere 127 pts ahead of Allan. The race for third place will also hold some excitement.
Doug Booth (Tarland) is currently third with a points total of 5,603 – but once again it will be a Craibstone man chasing him. Willie Beattie has 386 points to make up – but has fired some great rounds this season, so shouldn’t be written off!

Results from the North-East Alliance meeting at Craibstone, will be posted on www.SGVAlliances and www.Scottishgolfview.com on Wednesday – and will include the tee times for Thursday’s better-ball Pro Am, the four-man teams of which will be made up of qualifiers from the 36 hole championship.

Following Thursday’s Pro Am, results from the day – plus the final Order of Merit positions – will also be posted on SGVAlliances and Scottishgolfview.com. Play well all!


Thursday's pro-am team event will feature eight teams of four plauers, made up of the leading eight pros in the NE Alliance championship, the lowest eight  amateur scratch scorers , the lowest eight net score amateurs in Class 1 and the lowest eight net score amateurs in Class 2.
So each team will comprise of four players: one pro, one amateur with best scratch 36-hole total, one handicap amateur from Class 1 + one handicap amateur from Class 2.
Each team of four's best two net scores at each hole will count.

Last year, the team of John Duff, John Borthwick, Steve Shand and Tommy Collie won with a net score of 118 (61-57).
They won by nine shots from the team of Greg McBain, Stewart Finnie, John Hosie and Ritchie Davidson, who had a better inward half than the other four who returned a net 127 total - Sean Lawrie, Steve Roger, Martin Forster and David Booth.

The Evening Express Shield (team with best scratch score) and The Press and Journal Shield (team with best net total) will be awarded at the conclusion of the team event.
There are also some handsome vouchers (cash for pros) to be won in Thursday's teams of four event .... well worth qualifying for it, so make yourself available.

There are no vouchers for 36 hole totals, scratch or handicap, in the combined NE Alliance championship scores (although Colin Farquharson thinks where should be!).
But there are championship trophies awarded on 36-hole scratch and handicap totals.
Here's who won what 12 months ago in the 2016 NE Alliance Championship at Craibstone.

OVERALL WINNER - Craig Lawrie.
LEADING AMATEUR (scratch) - Andrew Campbell.
VETERANS' POT - Alfie Smith.
CHAPPER'S POT (Class 1 handicap) - Scott Mackie
MAJOR'S POT (Class 2 handicap) - Mike Winton

There will still be the customary one-round scratch and handicap prizes based on this coming Wednesday's scores alone.  So even if you did not play in the championship first round, there is nothing to stop you playing this coming Wednesday at Craibstone.




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