Golf has been far from a priority for Sammy Fanthorpe when serving on the front-line in the battle against Covid.
So the fact Sammy, a nurse at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, defied the odds to win the Murcar Links club championship for the first time reveals tremendous strength of character.
Sammy, 30, said: “Golf has not been at the front of my mind for the last couple of years.
“I work as a nurse at the ARI, so life has been hectic.
“Finding any time to practise really took a hit and as a consequence my handicap crept up to two from scratch.
“I didn’t get off to a great start last year and was beaten in the first round of the Aberdeenshire County Championship.”
That early defeat was a bitter blow for Sammy as she attempted to win the county title for a fifth time.
Sammy said: “Finding any form did not really come until the club championship later in the year.
“I qualified as the leading qualifier then seemed to find some kind of rhythm to my game.
“I beat Kitty Thompson in the semi-final, then faced Carol Wilson in the final.
“Carol is always a tough competitor, a long-standing friend.
“Our match was of an excellent standard and playing your pal is never easy.
“I was 3up on the 14th and I thought I was in total control.
“But Carol carded four birdies on the trot and I was suddenly one down on the 18th tee.
“Fortunately, I managed to birdie the last and eventually won at the 19th.
“The day was perfect as my mum Wendy was my caddie.
“She used to caddie for me in my earlier years and it was fantastic to have her back on the bag.
“My mum took up the sport a few years ago and now plays more than me!
“We’re playing in the Winter Fours together, so here’s hoping we have more success.”
A first Murcar championship win has given Sammy fresh hope for this season.
“I’m determined to get my handicap back down to scratch,” added Sammy. “That’s my goal for 2022.
“I’m also relishing the chance to play in the Evening Express Champion of Champions for the first time.”
Heavyweights to slug it out in opening round of Junior Pennant League
There is an eye-catching opening fixture when the Aberdeen and District Junior Pennant League starts in May.
Defending champions Portlethen will take on Cruden Bay, another dominant force in recent years, in their opening match.
The two rivals will go head to head in a Section A match at Portlethen on Sunday, May 15.
The other opening matches in the same group will see Stonehaven entertaining Aboyne and Newmachar hosting Ellon McDonald.
In Section B, Royal Aberdeen, who are the host club this year, will take on Banchory at Balgownie, while Westhill are set to make the trip to Deeside.
Murcar Links entertain Peterculter on the same opening day.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the final at Royal Aberdeen on Sunday, July 3 (1pm).
ABERDEEN AND DISTRICT JUNIOR PENNANT LEAGUE
15 – Section A: Stonehaven v Aboyne; Newmachar v Ellon McDonald. Portlethen v Cruden Bay. Section B: Royal Aberdeen v Banchory; Deeside v Westhill; Murcar Links v Peterculter.
22 – Section A: Stonehaven v Cruden Bay; Portlethen v Newmachar; Aboyne v Ellon McDonald. Section B: Peterculter v Royal Aberdeen; Murcar Links v Deeside; Banchory v Westhill.
29 – Section A: Cruden Bay v Aboyne; McDonald Ellon v Portlethen; Newmachar v Stonehaven. Section B: Peterculter v Banchory; Murcar Links v Westhill; Royal Aberdeen v Deeside.
5 – Section A: Cruden Bay v Newmachar; Aboyne v Portlethen; McDonald Ellon v Stonehaven. Section B: Westhill v Royal Aberdeen; Deeside v Peterculter; Banchory v Murcar Links.
12 – Section A: McDonald Ellon v Cruden Bay; Newmachar v Aboyne; Portlethen v Stonehaven. Section B: Royal Aberdeen v Murcar Links; Peterculter v Westhill; Banchory v Deeside.
3 – Final at Royal Aberdeen (1pm).
Jorien bags ace on par four
Craibstone member Jorien Terpstra-Kleijwegt had a hole-in-one at her home course’s par four first hole using a driver.
Jorien, who was carding her second ace in as many years at the club, was partnered by Astrid Roberts and Shona West.
Her previous hole-in-one came courtesy of a six-iron at the second hole when accompanied by Liz Knowles and Sheila Irvine.