JOHN FOLEY successfully launched his 2011 golf season at Bute Golf Club last Saturday when he lifted the RNLI Shield in the annual charity event.
The 12-handicapper, who journeys from Hamilton in Lanarkshire to compete at the nine-hole Kingarth course throughout the summer months, took the trophy with a score of net 63.
It was a case of ‘steady as you go’ for Foley, whose 38 to the turn included a birdie at the fifth and was followed by a solid back-nine of 37.
He finished one shot clear of runner-up James Lloyd (5), who returned the leading scratch score of the day with 69 for net 64, having covered the inward half in one-under-par 33 with birdies at the 16th and 18th.
Other leading scorers were Richie More (10) and Alastair McFarlane (13), both on net 65; Jim McKirdy (7) and Robert McKirdy (5), both on 66; and Leighton Thomas (15) and Gordon Pettigrew (5), both 67.
Thomas, who won the event last year, did well following a handicap cut as a result of his Winter League performances.
The competition scratch score was 64.
Meanwhile, Port Bannatyne’s Firth of Clyde League team staged a fine comeback to earn a 2-2 draw in their first match of the revamped 2011 competition away to Gourock on Sunday.
The strength of the host club showed in two of the games, with Graham Fisher and Ian McFarlane losing heavily to S. Higgins and G. McDougall, while the same fate befell David Reid and partner Jim McKirdy at the hands of C. Mooney and J. Greer.
However, Donald Standaloft and Jamie Jardine held their nerve to come away from the 16th with a 3 and 2 victory over H. Doak and C. Watson, leaving the outcome of the match hanging on the game between the Port pairing of Stephen Renfrew and Ian Shaw and Gourock’s R. and B. Campbell.
Three down after eight holes, the situation did not look good for the Port pair, but a great fight back saw them level the match at the par-three 17th - Ian bunkered his tee shot before playing a miraculous second straight into the can, which the Gourock pair were unable to match.
Stephen and Ian then proceeded to hold their nerve down the 18th to win the game by one hole and secure a draw for the Port.
Back on home soil, David Greer’s better inward half won him the Port’s Spring Handicap on Saturday ahead of club captain Andy Stevenson after both posted net scores of 65.
Stevenson, though, went one better in Sunday’s sweep medal, taking top spot with a net 63.
At Rothesay Golf Club on Saturday, Richard Dunn ensured the influence of youth continues to be keenly felt in the early part of the new season with victory in the R. & J. Anderson Trophy.
A good entry of 41 players took part, with Richard, playing off a handicap of ten, securing victory with a net 64.
Two players tied for second place on net 65 - Graham McArthur (8) and one of the slightly older players in the field, Tommy Duncan senior.
After missing most of last season, Tommy’s new hip seems to be working well - he returned the lowest gross score of the day with a 71 for net 65. Some of his playing partners say Tommy appears to still be in some discomfort when reaching for his hip pocket - unfortunately there is nothing the NHS can do about that!