Campbell’s record-breaking 17th Machrihanish championship

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After one of the most exciting finishes the club has ever seen, Stuart Campbell has become Machrihanish Golf Club champion for a record-breaking 17th time.

Not only has he won the championship the most times ever but, with his 60th birthday looming, Stuart has become the oldest man to do so – having been the youngest when he first triumphed at the tender age of 16.

At the start of the competition, 107 golfers set out in the gents’ section but it was three who jousted for the coveted title on Sunday June 13 in bright and breezy conditions.

Bobby Willan’s score of 70 the previous day – the best of the day – deserves a mention but it was the final day’s play, particularly the last six holes, that proved most entertaining.

In a tense finish, Stuart edged out former champion George MacMillan by a stroke.

Two strokes further back was the aforementioned Bobby, who, in turn, held on to third place, from the youthful former champion Andrew Wallace.

Having won his first championship in 1978, Stuart had extended his record to achieve 16 championships by the turn of the millennium.

After many near misses in the years since, he possibly thought that was going to be his lot, but amazingly he now has 17 to his name – and perhaps there could be another one or two to be claimed!

Now holding the record for most club championships won by any individual golfer in the famous golf club’s 145-year existence, Stuart will surely go down in history as unarguably the greatest golfer Machrihanish has produced.

Sunday also saw the champions in the club’s other categories crowned.

In the ladies’ section, 17 golfers competed for the title on the Pans course and, impressively, Lorna Ralston showed that her inaugural victory last year was no flash in the pan.

She entered the final round four strokes ahead of her nearest challenger Lindsay Ramsay.

Despite Lindsay trying her hardest to close the gap in the last round, some canny play by Lorna saw her emerge once more as the well-deserved ladies’ champion.

The Bob Ballantyne Trophy was won by former captain Calum MacMillan who recovered from a sluggish first round score to put two excellent rounds together and secure his victory.

In the boys’ section, Murdo McLean emerged victorious. This quiet and unassuming young man will hopefully go on and fulfil his potential.

Impressive Tarbert youngster Connor McCrae won the boys’ nine-hole championship.

The girls’ nine-hole championship went down to the wire and some sibling rivalry came to the fore, with Hannah Millar emerging victorious over her twin sister Emma in a play-off victory.

A club spokesperson said: ‘Special mention must be made of Craig Barr and his team, who presented the course in excellent condition, particularly in the arid conditions.

‘Also the staff in the magnificent new clubhouse, who continue to look after and cater for everyone’s needs and who helped supply the refreshments to toast the new champions’ remarkable achievements.’