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Golf: Murcar Links clinch Junior Pennant title after dramatic finish

The winning Murcar Links team
The winning Murcar Links team, from left, Jack Kidd, Evan Walker, Aidan Buckley, Joe Murray, junior convener Jim Ramsay, Nathan Begg and Zack Don. Image: Alan Brown

Murcar Links have won this year’s Aberdeen and District Junior Pennant League after a dramatic finish at Royal Aberdeen.

The Bridge of Don youngsters defeated McDonald Ellon on countback in the final at Balgownie.

Joe Murray gave Murcar the perfect start by beating Alister Hunter by 5&4 in the opening singles but Finlay Simpson squared the match by overcoming Nathan Begg by 3&1.

Murcar duo Aidan Buckley and Evan Walker teamed up in the first pairs match to defeat brothers Joseph and Matthew Zanre by 4&3.

However, Ellon pair Cole Struthers and Kieran Mess beat Jack Kidd and Zack Don by one hole to make the final match score 4-4.

Murcar took the title on countback for the first time since 2014 courtesy of better tie results.

Junior convenor Jim Ramsay said: “We have struggled for a few years, as every club does periodically, with experienced players becoming too old.

“However, their spirit has always been strong, and their dedication even stronger.

“All was going well, then along came the pandemic which cancelled everything for 2020

“We resumed last year, and although we remained undefeated, we lost out on qualifying for the final due to games won and lost.

“This year has been very similar, not having lost any matches but we did secure a place in the final.

“The last pairs match had Ryder Cup status for tension.

“Jack and Zack were five holes down after nine holes but fought back to only lose by one hole which proved crucial.

“Obviously, we are delighted to win but the final was contested in very strong five-club wind against very sporting opponents.

“Congratulations to everyone who played and to all the spectators who braved the elements.”

Another former Champion of Champions winner lies in wait for Still

Gavin Still has ended the hopes of Bryan Innes completing a hat-trick of Evening Express Champion of Champions scratch titles this year.

But the competition does not get any easier for Gavin as another two-time winner lies in wait for him in the quarter-finals.

Gavin Still beat Bryan Innes
Gavin Still beat Bryan Innes to reach the last eight of the Champion of Champions.

Duff House Royal’s Still defeated Innes, of Murcar Links, by one hole at the Banff club and now Bon Accord’s Barrie Edmond stands in his way of reaching the semi-finals.

Innes successfully defended this Aberdeen Links championship title last week and helped Murcar lift the Journal Cup at Ballater earlier this month.

Still, who plays off plus four said: “It was a good game. Neither of us were ever more than one hole ahead and we had three birdies between us in the first six holes.

“We were very tidy round the greens.

“Bryan holed some great putts under pressure especially for a birdie two on 16 to square the match.

“However, I dug deep and finished with two birdies at the last two holes to come out on top.”

Innes agreed the standard of the match was high quality.

He said: “Yes, it was a good game.

“Gavin played very well and a birdie-three birdie-three finish would be good enough to win most games.

“I birdied the 16th for first time ever but it was not to be.”

Innes won his first Champion of Champions title in 1995 at Duff House and followed up 16 years later at Aboyne.

Edmond, who booked his place in the last eight, clinched his titles at Murcar in 2014 and Inverurie three years ago.

The six Evening Express Champion of Champions tournaments are sponsored to the tune of £2,400 by Aberdein Considine.

EVENING EXPRESS CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS (SPONSORED BY ABERDEIN CONSIDINE) – MEN’S SCRATCH – Round three: Gavin Still (-4) (Duff House Royal) beat Bryan Innes (-1) (Murcar) Links 1 hole; Tyler Ogston (-2) (Nigg Bay) w/o, Gordon Lees (2) (Balmoral) scr; Adam Dunton (-3) (defending champion from McDonald Ellon) beat Ian Lowrie (2) (Strathlene) 1 hole; Grant Joss (-1) (Royal Aberdeen) beat Adam Giles (-3) (Newmachar) 6&5; Sean Low (-2) (Turriff) beat Marc Coull (2) (Kemnay) 4&3; Graeme Innes (8) (Marine) scr, Callum Coutts (2) (Alford) w/o; Bob Cattanach (8) (Auchenblae) lost to Ben Read (0) (Banchory) 8&7; Barrie Edmond (-3) (Bon Accord) beat Bradley Fraser (-1) (McDonald Ellon) 3&1.

QUARTER-FINALS (to be played by Monday, July 25): Adam Dunton (-3) (McDonald Ellon) v Sean Low (-2) (Turriff), Grant Joss (-1) (Royal Aberdeen) v Tyler Ogston (-2) (Nigg Bay), Callum Coutts (2) (Alford) v Ben Read (0) (Banchory), Barrie Edmond (-3) (Bon Accord) v Gavin Still (-4) (Duff House Royal).

Davidson’s senior hopes ended by Galbraith

Scott Davidson’s hopes of completing an Evening Express Champion of Champions double have been dashed.

Peterculter member Scott, who won the scratch title in 1988, lost by two holes to Iain Galbraith, of Murcar Links, in round three of the inaugural senior men’s scratch competition.

Galbraith will now tee off against Alan Ross, of Deeside, in the quarter-finals.

Donald Hardman, of Ballater, prevailed at the 21st hole after an extra-time battle against Northern’s Walter Rae.

Another away match awaits Hardman after being drawn to play Ron Wells at Ellon McDonald.

EVENING EXPRESS CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS (SPONSORED BY ABERDEIN CONSIDINE) – SENIOR MEN’S SCRATCH – Round three: Walter Rae (5) (Northern) lost to Donald Hardman (5) (Ballater) at the 21st; John Robbie (4) (Inverurie) beat Michael Singer (3) Turriff 4&2; Douglas Gibb (10) (Auchmill) lost to Ron Wells (2) (McDonald Ellon) 3&2; Scott Davidson (3) (Peterculter) lost to Iain Galbraith (0) (Murcar Links) 2 holes; Pat Allan (8) (Keith) lost to Michael Wilson (2) (Royal Aberdeen) 6&5; R Watson (5) (Bon Accord) scr, Alan Ross (2) (Deeside) w/o; David Brand (1) (Banchory) beat Graham Gunn (4) (Cruden Bay) 5&3.

QUARTER-FINALS (to be played by Monday, July 25): David Brand (1) (Banchory) v John Robbie (4) (Inverurie), Michael Wilson (2) Royal Aberdeen v Gordon Grimmer (0) (Nigg Bay) or Gary Grant (6) (Aboyne), Ron Wells (2) (McDonald Ellon) v Donald Hardman (5) (Ballater), Iain Galbraith (0) (Murcar Links) v Alan Ross (2) (Deeside).

Argyll and Bute test next up for North-East District

The North-east District will bid to continue their successful start to the Scottish Area Team Championships at Rothesay against Argyll& Bute on Sunday.

The six-man squad named is Anthony Bews (Murcar Links), Clark Brechin, Gary Esson (both Portlethen), Adam Dunton (McDonald Ellon), Neil Mitchell (Bon Accord) and David Morrison (Meldrum House).

The North-east opened their account with a 5&4 victory over Renfrewshire at Portlethen and followed up with a 5.5-3.5 triumph against Lanarkshire at Lanark to have already secured their place in the championships finals at Powfoot from September 2-4.

Team captain Dave Fleming said: “We have chosen 10 players over the course of the three matches so the selectors will have a difficult task when it comes to the final six for Powfoot but it is a great problem to have.”

  • Peterculter member Sandy Duncan had a hole-in-one at the 202-yard 15th hole at his home course with a five-iron when partnering David and Stephen Insch.