Kintore Golf Club’s Susan Stuart and Turriff Golf Club’s Christine Bruce have both defied the odds to secure their places in the Evening Express Champion of Champions ladies’ handicap final.
Susan and Christine have juggled the task of having leading club committee roles ahead of the Banchory showpiece encounter on Sunday, September 17.
Susan is Kintore club captain after a couple of spells as ladies’ captain, while Christine is the ladies’ vice-captain at Turriff.
Ex-guidance teacher Susan, 64, said: “I won the Kintore ladies’ handicap trophy last season, which opened the door to play in this year’s Champion of Champions.
“It has been a great experience which I have really enjoyed.
“At Kintore, we have a small but keen ladies section who are always ready to encourage less experienced players, but we also enjoy playing in the Bennachie League.
“I joined in 1998, but only started playing regularly a couple of years later after giving up hockey, which had been my main sport since my school days.
“There are so many ex-hockey players who are now golfers, so a round on the course is always a good excuse for a catch-up.”
Susan beat Amanda Farquhar (McDonald Ellon) by 4&3 in the semi-finals, while Christine defeated Nyah Wright (Cullen Links) by 3&2 in the other semi.
Christine, 64, said: “This is my first real experience of achieving anything in a matchplay competition since restarting golf four years ago.
“Little did I know that winning the (Turriff) handicap championship last year would lead to this.
“Winning the competition would mean a great deal to me – I had not realised how competitive I was until recently.
“I am ladies vice-captain at Turriff and am on the main committee.
“I restarted playing golf when I retired from my full time work as a community paediatrician four years ago.
“I have taken particular inspiration from my 91-year-old mum Vera Mitchell, who regularly plays in both the senior and ladies’ competitions.
“Golf has been the greatest thing for me since I retired, almost taking over my life… and infinitely preferable to work!
“Our professional James Calam ran a ‘love golf’ class which I joined after I restarted, and I would encourage any ladies to give it a try.”
Banchory member to take on defending champ in senior ladies’ scratch final
Gail Christie will have home advantage when facing defending champion Rose Anderson (Huntly) in the Champion of Champions senior ladies’ scratch final at Banchory.
A one-hole success over Karen Stalker at Cruden Bay saw Gail book her place in the showdown on Sunday, September 17 after a 6&5 home victory over Kay Ross (Inverurie) in the previous round.
Huntly member Rose sealed her spot in this year’s final after defeating Lynne Terry, of Newmachar, by 8&6 in the semi-finals.
Former Scotland international Rose had an earlier 5&4 home success against Rae Topping (Royal Tarlair).
Rose defeated Stonehaven’s Wilma Lawrence by 4&3 in last year’s final at Kemnay.
Senior ladies’ handicap between Newmachar and Hazlehead members
Newmachar’s Sheila McNaught will line up against Hazlehead’s Karen Thow in the inaugural Champion of Champions senior ladies’ handicap final.
Sheila defeated Inverurie’s Freda Macpherson by two holes, while Westhill’s Linda McNaughton lost to Karen by 2&1 in the other semi.
A 3&2 victory over Cruden Bay’s Kathleen Esslemont had secured Sheila’s place in the last four.
Karen was a 4&2 winner over Elizabeth Johnston (Insch) in the quarter-finals.
Emma has another chance at ladies’ double after reaching another scratch final
Emma Logie has a second chance to create history by completing a notable Evening Express Champion of Champions double this season.
Keith member Emma won the inaugural ladies handicap tournament at Newburgh two years ago, before losing the scratch final at the 20th to Portlethen’s Sarah Ritchie at Kemnay last season.
However, Emma, 23, has put that disappointment behind her and has bounced back to reach this year’s scratch final again – where she will face Hazlehead’s Claire Prouse at Banchory on Sunday, September 17.
Emma said: “To complete the double, especially after going so close last year, would be a satisfying achievement.
“The matchplay challenge of the Champion of Champions is a format I enjoy and I’m really looking forward to playing Claire in the final at Banchory.”
Emma defeated Ashley Lovie by two holes at Duff House Royal in her second round match ahead of recording a 3&2 home success over Yvonne Massie (Turriff) in the quarter-finals.
A 4&2 home victory over Fiona Campbell (McDonald Ellon) secured Emma’s place in the final for a second successive year.
Claire opened with a 5&4 success over Stonehaven’s Fiona Sim before defeating Lisa Bruce, of Cruden Bay, by 6&4.
A 4&3 victory over Lucy Buckley (Huntly) in the quarter-finals was followed by a 5&4 triumph against Margaret Sievwright, of Strathlene, in the last four.
Men’s scratch final will see Inverurie’s Morrison meet Deeside’s Bruce
Inverurie’s Calum Morrison held off a brave fightback from Bradley Fraser (McDonald Ellon) to book his place in the Champion of Champions scratch final.
Calum held a three-hole lead at the turn in their semi-final at Inverurie after winning the fifth, sixth and eighth holes.
However, Bradley squared the match with birdies at the 11th, 12th and 14th.
Calum took a crucial one-hole lead at the 16th and managed to earn a halve at the next after getting up and down to save par.
Calum said: “We both hit good drives up the last and I hit my approach to about 15 feet.
“Bradley hit his slightly outside of mine and missed his birdie putt, giving me two putts for the match.”
“I am delighted to make the final and looking forward to playing Deeside’s Callum Bruce at Banchory.”
Aberdein Considine are sponsoring the Champion of Champions for a seventh successive year.
The property, legal and financial service firm are again investing £2,400.