Close scoring in opening rounds of Dunaverty championships

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This year’s Dunaverty Golf Club championships promised some close encounters and this is proving to be the case after the first two rounds.

Three categories are being contested: the handicap and senior events, and the scratch event to determine the club champion.

No player can win both the main and handicap categories but the senior title, which is a separate event, can be won by the winner of either of the other two.

Some great scores were recorded in round one which was played in almost perfect conditions last Saturday.

Four shots covered the top seven in the scratch category with only two shots between the top six in the handicap.

The seniors’ event was more open, with eight shots between first and sixth.

George MacMillan set about defending his title by going out in 33 and back in 32 just two ahead of Donald MacNeil, Lee Mathieson and John Docherty.

John led the handicap with a nett 59 to Sandy Watson’s 60 and the next four all on 61.

Last year’s senior champion Donald MacNeil’s 67 put him two ahead of Ross Sinclair in the senior category.

Round one results: Scratch: 1 George MacMillan 65, 2 Donald MacNeil 67 (bih), 3 Lee Mathieson 67 (better last six), 4 John Docherty 67, 5 Alan Middleton 68, 6 Ross Sinclair 69 (bih), 7 Alistair McConnachie 67. Handicap: 1 John Docherty 67-8=59, 2 Sandy Watson 71-11=60, 3 Neil Brodie 70-9=61 (bih), 4 Donald MacNeil 67-6=61, 5 Lee Mathieson 67-6=61, 6 Ricky Tonner 75-14=61. Seniors: 1 Donald MacNeil 67, 2 Ross Sinclair 69, 3 Sandy Watson 71, 4 Keith Crawford 72, 5 David MacBrayne 75, 6 Eric Dunlea 75.

Round two, played last Sunday, again in perfect conditions on a course well prepared by greenkeepers Haydn Chambers and Campbell MacBrayne, saw some change in the scratch and senior contests with the handicap showing the biggest difference.

George MacMillan showed his determination to retain his title by negotiating the first nine in 30 strokes and the back in 33.

Alan Middleton upped his game with an excellent 64 closely followed by Alistair McConnachie and Donald MacNeil both on 65.

Ricky Tonner had a superlative round of a scratch 69 to give him a nett 55 and shoot him into the lead in the handicap with Alistair McConnachie and Donald MacNeil  moving into the next two places.

The first three spots in the seniors’ competition remained unchanged but two new faces, David Sinclair and John Brown, appeared in fourth and fifth positions.

‘Good luck to all the main protagonists in the final two rounds this weekend,’ said a club spokesperson.

Round two results: Scratch: 1 George MacMillan 63, 2 Alan Middleton 64, 3 Alistair McConnachie 65 (bih), 4 Donald MacNeil 65, 5 Ross Sinclair 66, 6 Ricky Tonner 69. Handicap: 1 Ricky Tonner 69-14=55, 2 Alistair McConnachie 65-6=59 (bih), 3 Donald McNeil 65-6=59, 4 Sandy Watson 72-11=61, 5 Ross Sinclair 66-3=63 (bih), 6 Bobby Dalziel 72-9=63, 7 George MacMillan 63-0=63, 7 David MacBrayne 75-12=53. Seniors: 1 Donald MacNeil 65, 2 Ross Sinclair 66, 3 Sandy Watson 72, 4 David Sinclair 74 (bih), 5 John Brown 74, 6 David MacBrayne 75.

Two rounds’ combined scores: Scratch: 1 George MacMillan 63+65=128, 2 Donald MacNeil 67+65=132, 3 Alan Middleton 68+64=132, 4 Alistair McConnachie 69+65=134, 5 Ross Sinclair 69+66=135, 6 Lee Mathieson 67+70=137. Handicap: 1 Ricky Tonner 61+55=116, 2 Donald MacNeill 61=59=120, 3 Sandy Watson 60+61=121, 4 Alistair McConnachie 63+59=122, 5 Bobby Dalziel 62+63=125, 6 Neil Brodie 61+64=125, 7 David MacBrayne 62+63=125, 8 Lee Mathieson 61+64=125. Seniors: 1 Donald MacNeil 67+65=132, 2 Ross Sinclair 69+66=135, 3 Sandy Watson 71+72=143, 4 Keith Crawford 72+76=138, 5 David MacBrayne 75+74=149, 6 John Brown 76+74=150, 7 Eric Dunlea 75+75=150, 8 David Sinclair 76+74=150.