The final round of The George Sprunt Memorial Invitation Sweepstake, which attracts golfers from as far away as Manchester, was held over the Girvan golf course last Sunday in dry, sunny and windy weather.
But then, when do you not have windy weather in this part of the world?
However, it did not seem to deter the winner of the main trophy Steven Johnston or Anne Smith the ladies’ winner, or for that matter Steven Stamper, scratch trophy winner, or Ritchie Scott, winner of the Caddyshack Trophy for the elderly golfers – of which Ritchie is now one. The European Tour, in the form of Taylor Made, Ping and Titleist, through the good offices of Davy Johnstone and Nick Donahough, had produced some amazing prizes and Jeff Brighton was also to be lauded for providing prizes from the ladies’ tour.
So, this was a tournament with a lot at stake. The prize winners for the men’s event was as follows: S. Johnston (5) 66, R. Scott (5) 67, W. Pitt (9) 67, B. McCutcheon (13) 67, S. Stamper (+1) 67, D. Heron (17) 68, G. Davey (14) 68, S. Hamilton (6) 69, G. Mackintosh (2) 69, J. McCluskey (14) 69, G. Campbell (8) 69, R. McCluskey (7) 69, M. Lothian (11) 69, J. McCormick (1) 70, J. McLoed (7) 70, K. Hamilton (0) 70, P. Miller, (12) 71, S. White (3) 71,P. McCluskey (5) 71 and B. Jamieson (6) 71.
The ladies’ prizewinners were Anne Smith (17) 75, Elinor Heggie (12) 79 and Jill Bone (24) 82. Nearest the pins at the following holes picked up some prizes, 3rd and 5th: R. McCluskey, 10th: G. Mackintosh, 14th: D. Hamilton and 18th: Kevin Hamilton, with Grant Wilson picking up a prize for the longest drive at the 15th.
All went home very pleased, clutching some great prizes. As usual, there were some comments made on the round in particular by those who just by a fraction did not make the cut. Scott McPherson lost a ball going up the 15th which cost him 13 strokes. On the way down the 16th, he found the ball he had lost, but it still cost him 13 strokes. Willie McDines bemoaned the fact that he missed some putts of less than a foot due to the wind.
But there you are there, are always some problems on a golf course which we all have to take in our stride.
There was a very good turnout for the presentation and Mrs Milligan’s buffet was very much appreciated by all. Bernie Mills, a long-time participant in this event, was called upon to present the prizes which were read out by Peter McCloy.
There are few tournament about with as good a prize list as this. The main sponsor was once again Robert Aird, who due to a previous engagement could not participate this year, but gave his support.
The chairman, Willie McDines, was very appreciative of the many sponsors who had contributed to this very popular tournament and made a special reference to them in his speech. He went on to thank South Ayrshire Council for the use of the course, the green-staff for its excellent condition and Mrs Milligan and her staff for the refreshments and the use of the clubhouse. Despite the weather in the qualifying round this had been a very good competition, but it has been decided that for next year it would return to the old format of two qualifying rounds.
The chairman finished by thanking all the competitors.
TALES FROM THE CADDYSHACK
I notice that in the aftermath of Ross Fisher shooting a 61 round the hallowed links of St Andrew’s Old Course comments have been made as to how to stop classic courses becoming obsolete. One solution is to restrict the distance a golf ball can be hit by a top class professional, by reducing the ball’s compression. It has been suggested that a special ball be used by professionals in tournaments, but I don’t see manufacturers producing one ball for the professional and one for the amateur. Think about it, but something must be done and soon.