Brora Golf Club celebrate 21st Dornoch Firth League title
Brora Golf Club’s phenomenal record in the Dornoch Firth Golf League since 1973 was celebrated with their 21st victory in the Targe last weekend when the fixtures were played over their home links.
Apart from a heavy hail shower around midday on Saturday, the weather was generally good over the weekend and the golf course and the greens were in particularly excellent condition.
The conditions no doubt contributed to two eagle-winning shots on Saturday, the 10th hole by Golspie’s Steven Doogan and then at the first hole by Royal Dornoch’s Craig MacKay.
Royal Dornoch announced their intention to deny Brora a 21st league success when in their first match on Saturday afternoon they banked seven points with a whitewash over Invergordon.
In the morning play, Tain’s defence of the Targe began in defeat to Brora although after the first three ties, the visitors were ahead.
Course record holder James MacBeath lost by two holes to Tain’s rising star Sean Kennedy and then up stepped Wick greenkeeper Dougie Thorburn, through his Highland club membership, who levelled with a last-green win over Munro Ferries.
Stuart Murray from Falkirk has been a member at Brora since before his early teenage years but made his team debut with a big defeat to Tain’s Billy Ferries before the fourth tie between the Brora team captain Roddy Cameron was halved against Tain’s Ian Cowper for the holders to still lead 2.5 to 1.5.
Then Brora’s tailenders – Graham Grant, Calum Stewart and Owen MacLennan – all won to rescue a 4.5 - 2.5 winning score while Murray recovered from his first loss to be one of Brora’s best point earners by winning his remaining three ties.
In Brora’s afternoon fixture against Golspie, the Golspie team captain Steve Doogan birdied the last hole to half his game Dougie Thorburn.
On Sunday, James MacBeath led the team against Dornoch’s away member from Nairn Dunbar, Brian Watson.
James brought in the first point with a 2&1 result in the overall Brora win of 4.5 to 2.5.
For Brora’s final fixture against Invergordon the first match was between the two head greenkeepers, Brora’s MacBeath and Invergordon’s Gary Urquhart.
Urquhart emerged a one-hole winner but Brora’s Thorburn levelled the score with a 5&3 win over Invergordon newcomer Tommy McCleneghan before Stuart Murray, Robert MacDonald, Calum Stewart, Owen MacLennan and Alistair MacDonald swept Brora to a final 6-1 result and points total of 21.5 to anxiously await the results from the double ties.
With the help of two Brora members using their “Highland” membership of Golspie Golf Club, Tony Gill and George F Sutherland, Golspie, had a “Super Sunday” beating both Dornoch and Tain.
Sutherland (76) was a twice Sutherland County Champion in the mid sixties and was the sting in the Golspie tail, taking in winning points against Tain’s Gary Tonge 5&4 and Royal Dornoch’s 2012 County Champion, David Pearson (62) 2&1 for Golspie to win 4.5-2.5 against Tain and 4-3 over Royal Dornoch. Probably their first ever league win over Dornoch.
Final league table: Brora 21.5 points, Royal Dornoch 17, Tain 11.5, Golspie 11 Invergordon 9. Next year’s league venue will be Golspie, and in 2021 Invergordon with the league’s 50th anniversary hosted by Royal Dornoch in 2020.