Scratch golfer Graham Bolton is on course to achieve an island championship double after taking a six-shot lead in the first qualifying round of Bute Golf Club’s title tournament at the weekend.
Following his recent victory in the championship at Rothesay, Bolton dominated the opening round of the challenge for the Gavin North Trophy at Kingarth where he scored an almost flawless two-under-par 66.
And the success came against all the odds in the dying light of the day after the player had rushed back to Bute from Millport where he had earlier competed in the 36-hole Cumbrae Cup tournament.
That battle is also still ongoing for Bolton who now faces a play-off for the cup with Port Bannatyne’s Stephen Renfrew after both players led the field with aggregates of 142 from rounds of 72 and 70.
At Kingarth he got off to a flying start with four threes in the first six holes en route to an outward half of 33. A birdie two at the 12th combined with eight pars completed a superb round of 66, with one blemish at the fourth, where he dropped his only shot.
Andy Docherty leads the chasing pack a distant six shots behind the leader after finishing in 72 thanks to an outward half of 34 with birdies at the fifth, seventh and ninth. Duncan Speirs is one shot further behind on 73 while defending champion Robert McKirdy, Graham McArthur and Graeme White are all on 77. Last year’s runner-up Donald Standaloft and David Bryden are next on 78 with John McBride also among the leaders on 79.
The eight players with the best 36-hole aggregate after the second qualifying round tomorrow (Saturday) will go forward to the match-play stages while those remaining competitors with leading net scores will compete for the Cuthbertson Cup in the ‘Wee Championship’.
* More from Bute Golf Club in the next edition of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, July 17.