Former Open champ at Stonehaven

PAUL Lawrie with the nine Stonehaven juniors with whom he played on Friday.
PAUL Lawrie with the nine Stonehaven juniors with whom he played on Friday.

LAST Friday, April 29, proved to be a historic day at Stonehaven Golf Club and there wasn’t a wedding dress in sight.

Golfing “royalty”, however, was there in the person of 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, who played a full round accompanied by nine of the club’s best juniors, each of whom played six holes with him.

The event, a feather in the cap for the club, was organised by junior convener Neil Irvine through the Paul Lawrie Foundation, which does so much to encourage junior golf in the North-east of Scotland.

For the juniors, it was a day they will long remember, playing six holes with an Open champion, chatting to him all the way round and enjoying a close-up view of the superb, controlled tempo of his swing. If they can pick up a bit of that alone, their golf will improve.

The event will also be written into the annals of the club. Paul was only the third Open champion to play the course in its 123-year-old history. First was George Duncan, who shot a 71 in 1901 (19 years before he won the Open); and second, the famous James Braid, who scored a 75 in 1906.

Despite an awkward and at times strong wind out of the north-west, Paul did rather better than that, shooting a two-under-par 64 on his first sight of the course in nearly 20 years.

He bogied the first and the twelfth, with birdies at 9, 10, 11 and 16. The rest were mostly tap-in pars.

Highlights for the crowd who followed him round were a superb drive into the wind at the third, leaving only a gap wedge to the green; a high 5-iron which penetrated the wind at the seventh and landed soft as a feather on the green; a gap wedge second to five feet for a birdie at the ninth; a drawn 3-wood at the tenth, which was unlucky to find the right greenside bunker; and superb drives into the wind at the eleventh and twelfth holes.

Paul also crashed a 340-yard drive downwind at the par-5 sixteenth, leaving only a wedge to the green.

As for the juniors, Ross McAllan was delighted to match Paul’s score of one-over-par for the first six holes on his way to amassing 37 Stableford points, earning him not only the nickname “One-Putt” from Paul but also a smart new golf bag donated by the Open champion.

Other scores were: Kevin Riddell and Sam Wright 34 points; Josh Halliday, Craig Buchanan, Connor Douglas 33; Grant Robb 31; Ross Anderson 29; Scott Murray 28.

Paul also arranged for pictures to be taken of him with each of the juniors and he presented a signed print to each of them.

He said he enjoyed the day and was impressed by the boys’ play and their good manners on the course.

He plans to hold a series of similar days with others clubs in the future.

On Saturday the second round of the Cowie Cup was played. There were 20 scores that beat or equalled the CSS of 65. Best of the day was a nett 61 from Kenny Gordon, Tom Hyder, Ricky Davidson and Mike Rendall. Two strokes behind were Ian Wood, Mike Griffin, Alistair Innes and Gordon Adamson on 63. Combining these scores from the first round meant that there was a tie for the Cowie Cup between Vice Captain Mike Rendall and Gordon Adamson. Because of his nett 61 on Saturday Mike won the trophy due to the better second round rule. Gordon had the consolation of having the shot of the day. His wedge tee shot at the 14th hole found the bottom of the cup for his 7th hole in one.

Second round scores: Kenny Gordon (20), Tom Hyder (25), Ricky Davidson (9), Mike Rendall (13) - 61, Ian Wood (12), Mike Griffin (19), Alistair Innes (17), Gordon Adamson (4) - 63, Stuart Wood (10), Douglas Henderson (9), Neil Irvine (1), Grant Robb (9), Kenny Martin (10), Joe Riddell (20), Ewan Campbell (17) - 64, Bob Leggate (7), Chris Taylor (7), Luis Arandia (17), Steve McGhie (8) - 65. Cowie Cup combined scores - Mike Rendall (65 + 61), Gordon Adamson (63 + 63) - 126, Neil Irvine (63 + 64) - 127, Stuart Wood (65 + 64) - 129, Alistair Innes, Joe Riddell, Bob Leggate, David Callaghan - 130. Junior stroke results: Kiefer Brown (20) 59; Josh Halliday (7) 60; Cameron Davidson (19) 69; Mason Jenkins (23) 71; Kevin Riddell (8) 75.

Stonehaven’s excellent performance in the Mail on Sunday Classic competition came to an end on Sunday at home to Forfar. In a close match Stonehaven went down by the score of 3 matches to 2.

Results - Gary Grahan beat W Allardice by 3 & 1, Alan Cruickshank lost to D Soutar by 4 & 2, Davy Callaghan drew with R Mitchell, Brian Lawson drew with C Bell and finally Allan Officer lost to S Lumsden by 4 & 3.

The juniors continued their fine form in the Aberdeen & District Junior Pennant League. Playing at home against Auchmill the boys were never behind in any of the matches and all finished by the 15th hole.

Results: Scott Murray & Ross Anderson beat D Flood & C Polson 5 & 3, Ross McAllan & Josh Halliday beat A Harkin & J Gregor 6 & 5, Kevin Riddell & Grant Robb beat J Robertson & J Hutton 5 & 4, Craig Buchanan & Sam Wright beat D Laird & S Cowling 5 & 4, Connor Douglas & Liam Davidson beat J Dickson & A Page 6 & 4, Cameron Davidson & Keifer Brown beat A Jessiman & C Brand 5 & 4. The next match is away to Northern Golf Club at the Links on Sunday.

The Paul Lawrie Foundation hosts a number of Under 10 and Under 12 flag events throughout the year in the North East. This year for the first time Stonehaven will be hosting an event on Sunday 22nd May between 1 - 3pm.

Each competitor is awarded 36 shots at the start. He/she will then play 36 shots and see how far he/she gets round the short 9 hole course. The winner is the boy/girl who gets the furthest round the course. If your son/daughter is interested in playing please go onto the Paul Lawrie Foundation website to enter.