Summer Shield specialist Stuart Wilson is out to prove he is a man for all seasons as he eyes up the McArthur Cup in Bute Golf Club’s Winter League.
Big-hitting Wilson, who has dominated the summer tournament over the past three years, produced a record score of 46 points in Saturday’s round of the Winter League Stableford competition.
And that performance gives the 11-handicapper an encouraging boost in his bid to win the McArthur Cup for the first time.
Saturday’s result matches his previous best competitive round of gross 69 at the Kingarth course and, in addition to the winning return, he also had the leading scratch score of the day.
Birdies at the sixth and ninth holes helped Wilson to an outward-half total of level par 34 and he went on to finish with a flourish by beating par again at the 18th for an inward tally of 35.
There was a considerable stretch of clear water between the marine electrician and his nearest challengers with Jim Thom (handicap 11) and Paul Shepherd (18) sharing runner-up spot five points behind on totals of 41.
The second-placed pair could have been forgiven for thinking that they had done enough to win on the day but any hopes were quickly dashed by the in-form Wilson who now finds his handicap cut by two shots to nine.
Thom had the consolation of another excellent performance which puts him among the main challengers for the title.
He rallied strongly after an indifferent start and covered the final 11 holes in level par.
His round included birdies at the fifth, 14th and 17th holes.
Shepherd enjoyed a steady round and he too could find himself among the leading runners when the race for the title moves into the final stages.
However the man to catch looks like being Leighton Thomas who is going for a hat-trick of league wins having lifted the trophy over the past two years. On Saturday he finished on 40 points with a gross score of 71.
It was his fourth total of 40 points or better in the current campaign in which most of the competitors – including the seven-handicapper – have yet to complete the stipulated eight counting scores because of inclement weather.
On Saturday Thomas completed the outward half with a perfect level par score of 34 but, despite birdies at the 11th and 17th holes, he also dropped shots to finish with a disappointing tally of 37 on the back nine.
Although he was seven points behind the leader 20-handicapper Richie Smith had the joy of playing the shot of the day to achieve an outstanding eagle two with a drive and a nine-iron approach shot at the 324-yards’ par-four 11th hole.
Unfortunately the dry-stane dyke which guards the green denied him the added pleasure of watching his ball go into the hole. A five-point boost to his score however made up for that and he finished with a creditable 39 points.
Other leading players included Graeme Connor (13), John Kernaghan (15) and David Bryden (13) who scored 37 points apiece.
It is still all to play for in the tournament sponsored by Stephen Thomas of Optimize Financial Solutions, Ltd., however, with 10 rounds remaining and the battle will be engaged again on Saturday with the usual 8.30am ballot at the clubhouse.
An excellent score of 20 points gave Saunders Ross a one-point victory in the latest round in the club’s programme of mid-week nine-hole Stableford competitions. Peter Martin was runner-up with 19 points while Cammy Middleton was third on 17.
First place was shared by Steve Smith, Alex Nixon and Richard Matts in the previous nine-hole competition when all three players scored 16 points.
The series continues next Wednesday.