John and Ritchie hot up Bute cup race on bitterly cold day

Richie Smith.
Richie Smith.

John Kernaghan and Richie Smith hotted up the race for the McArthur Cup at the weekend on a bitterly cold day at Kingarth where they jointly led the field in the latest round of Bute Golf Club’s Winter League.

Both players, who are former winners of the Stableford singles trophy, are first-time victors in the current series.

Leighton Thomas

Leighton Thomas

Each finished with tallies of 38 points, two clear of the nearest challengers who included title-holder Leighton Thomas.

It was steady as you go for Kernaghan (handicap 15) who scored 19 points on each half while Smith (19) played his best golf over the back nine where a birdie three at the 14th helped him to a tally of 20 points.

Robert McKirdy (6) returned the best scratch score of 74 for 36 points, a total equalled by Thomas (7) and David Bryden (12).

Jim Thom was another leading finisher with 35 points on a card with two non-counting holes which were partially offset by a birdie three at the 14th.

The tournament, sponsored by Stephen Thomas of Optimize Financial Solutions, Ltd, runs on Saturdays throughout the winter months with eight best scores counting.

There is a long way to go with most players having completed only four or five rounds.

Thomas currently leads the way on 195 points, averaging 39 points from five outings.

The league continues on Saturday with the usual 8.30am ballot at the clubhouse.

Weather permitting, the programme of nine-hole mid-week Stableford competitions will resume next Wednesday when players should make their own arrangements throughout the day.