Friday, 9 March 2018

North Scottish Alliance aggregates to be 

decided at Garmouth tomorrow


By ROBIN WILSON
With last weekend's North Scottish Golfers' Alliance fixture at Elgin falling victim to the Beast from the East, tomorrow's (Saturday) final qualifying fixture at Garmouth will determine the winners of the season's six-score aggregate trophies: the K M Cameron Scratch Trophy and the two handicap section trophies, the Burnett Trophy (low section) and the Bill McQueen Trophy (high section).
In the scratch and low handicap sections there are members who might be keeping their fingers crossed that the Beast might just hang about to cancel the last counting fixture and leave the top four in their current order. 
Inverness's David Joel, long-time leader of the scratch aggregate, sits on a six score total of 410 from his cards at Grantown 65, Boat of Garten 65, Inverness 70, Moray Old 67 and Muir of Ord 71. But Joel has not entered for Garmouth so is left biting his nails waiting for the results.
Those who can catch the leader this weekend are Kyle Godsman (Moray), current total 412 with his sixth score a 71 to improve upon, and Jeff Wright (Forres), currently 416 with his sixth score also a 71 to improve upon.
To catch Joel, Wright requires a 65 but Godsman need only match the Garmouth par of 69.  
Out of the race unless they can produce miracle sub-60 cards at Garmouth are Gordon Murray (Moray) 425 and Bruce Thomson (Inverness) 426
There is still is still an ongoing scrap for the Burnett Trophy in the low handicap section. One- handicapper Gordon Hay, the Boat of Garten Golf Club secretary, remains out in front on net 422, one stroke ahead of Neil McPhie (Inverness) 423, followed by the quartet of Ian Murray (Boat of Garten), Duncan McGrouther (Inverness), Dougie Gordon (Inverness) and Bruce Thomson (Inverness) still in the mix with 424 totals.
These are the sixth counting scores of the contenders: Murray 74, McPhie 74, Gordon 74, McGrouther 75, and Thomson 75, which can be improved upon to change the order but the leader's final total of 422 will remain as he is a second leader not to have entered the Garmouth fixture. Also absent at Garmouth is Ian Murray. 
In the higher handicap section with his best of the season return of net 66 over the Moray Old course to add to his already registered 67, 68, 69 and two 70s, Torvean's Mike Lyall has all but retained the Bill McQueen Trophy with the same aggregate (410) as last year. He has a lead of 18 over Alan Boxx (Boat of Garten) 428, and in joint third place are Inverness pair Jim Rogers and Liam Hutchison with 430. Rogers also misses the  Garmouth competition. 
The remaining one fixture after Garmouth is the championship, to be played over the Nairn Dunbar course on Saturday, March 17. The defending champion is Jeff Wright who last year beat Inverness's Bruce Thomson in a play-off to claim his first championship.
In the past 68 years, next week's hosting club have only had one winner, J.T Brown three times in the fifties, 1953 1956 and 1960. 
Could local Darren Pitchforth, winner of the Inverness fixture last October, rise to the occasion next week?

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