One hundred and eight players took part in the 52nd Stromness Open on Saturday and thankfully heatstroke, sunburn and midgies were not a concern.
Yes this may have been the best summer for 40 years but the Open wants to find the best players out there and that can't be done in calm warm dry conditions can it?!
In strong westerly winds and heavy spells of rain it took the 36 holes for the cream to rise in both sections. At halfway the gross section had a familiar look about it with defending champion Pete McKinlay (67) a shot ahead of Steven Rendall (68). Remember, these two players between them have won the past 9 Stromness Opens and the tenth would be settled head to head. The nett section was also bunched with Colin Chesser from Thurso leading the way (60) ahead of Richard Brunton (62) and a host of 63s.
It was one of those early starting 63s who set the target for the rest when Kirkwall's Wayne Small added a 61 for a 124 total. Mid draw locals Robbie Oag (128) and John Heddle (129) came close but with the weather worsening and only lower handicappers left the cup belonged to a delighted Wayne. It was good to see Wayne hold on as he's a regular visitor to the club and his second round especially was deserving of the win.
In the gross both Pete and Steven struggled through the opening tough few holes but Steven steadied in the mid part of his round with a string of pars, odd birdie and a stunning eagle at 12 proving crucial. Pete to his credit fought back being -2 for his last 7 holes but Steven held on for a 67 and a 4 shot win for his 8th Stromness Open title. We do take for granted how good Steven's scores are but just how good that 67 in round 2 was will be appreciated by all who played in those conditions!
Best SGC member was Denis Harvey who took third with rounds of 71 and 70 while Andy Woodward and Bruce Moar finished a few shots back on 145 to round out the top 5.
Thanks as always go to our sponsors Bank of Scotland and Highland Park who once again issued out miniatures to everyone and dozens of prizes to boot. Judging by the bin at the 15th the miniatures went down well!
Thanks also to Rae and Lee our greenstaff who once again presented the course in fantastic condition and were widely praised by visitors to the club - always a good sign! Thanks too to Robbie Stanger for his voluntary divot filling and pond clearing. JP for his starting duties - that was a long day and John Heddle for co-ordinating the whole event - good to see him get a prize too for all the time put in. And also the ladies section for the halftime meal and homebakes - my personal highlight of the day!
Finally thanks to all our visitors this weekend from OGC & SRGC, Sid's Thurso gang and those from further afield. Stromness really does appreciate you coming to our event and helping to make it such a special day in the club's calendar. We hope to see you all back again soon.
Stromness Seniors Open
These old guys are getting tougher - normally the hint of a breeze or a slight drizzle and they postpone this event but not this year! They fought through the mild SE zephyr and lived to tell the tale.
Best of the bunch was Graham Bevan who not only tied with Donald Rae and Davy Garson for best nett on the day but was also a shot clear to win the gross with a 76 nett 65. Graham's a bit of a poor weather specialist and showed his skills here with some low ball flights and compact putting stroke, perfect for the conditions.
The dreaded countback had to be deployed for the nett cup between Donald and Davy and it was Donald whose back 9 proved worthy. A triple bogey at 16 proving Davy's undoing.
As always the club is indebted to sponsor JP Taylor and his autograph prizes which once again prove a different and popular memento for the winners (its not HIS autograph I might add!).
Shopping Week Open
If there's one thing guaranteed to end a drought it's the start of Shopping Week and sure enough after a dry start rain came in for the majority of the field. One man however didn't cool off...
The targets for nett and gross had been set by the very first group out. Pete McKinlay returned a 67 gross and his playing partner Robert Gatt a 70 nett 61. Although Steven Rendall matched the 67 of Pete his countback was inferior.
With most of the field in and nobody matching either total things were looking set, that was until Stan Seator who had recovered from a double bogey start came in with a 66 gross (nett 55!). A 2,2 run at the 8th and 9th tidied up an average start but he still played the back nine in level par, finishing with a birdie to claim the gross cup. Stunning round it must be said and it got Stan back down to a single figure handicap.
Thanks to Gray's for the generous sponsorship once again and to Rae and Lee for the course setup (and Sunday morning tidy up!).
If you wish to join our club then just fill in and return this form (with some cash of course!).
2018 SGC Membership Form
Course footage by drone
Some great drone flyover footage from Scott here:
Course fly by
Holes 1 to 3
Golf in Orkney
Here's a good feature on golf in Orkney: Golf Passport