SCOTTISH JUNIOR TEAM GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017 – REPORT
The inaugural event was generously hosted by Glenbervie Golf Club on Sunday the 24th August 2017, and General Manager/Secretary David Brodie, together with the rest of his Staff, made everyone welcome. Despite persistent showers, the course held up very well under the conditions and play was completed with no delays.
The winning Teams from Junior Leagues all over Scotland, plus several Teams from areas currently without Junior Leagues, entered the event. Each Team had 6 Players and there was some excellent scoring under the singles Stableford format, with the best 5 out of 6 scores to count.
A very strong Team from Craigmillar Park, recent winners of the Edinburgh Junior League, and all with single figure handicaps, emerged victorious with some very consistent scoring. Sam Hall led the way with 38, followed by Cameron Ledingham with 36, by Alessio Margiotta and Mark Brooks both with 35, and by Conor O’Toole with 34. These 5 scores totalled 178 and were so good that the score by late substitute Lucy Morrison was able to be discarded. This was a great Team performance! The winning Team, together with their Junior Convenors Mary Richardson and Susan Corrie, were awarded a Trophy kindly donated by Ian Howarth, Past President of the SGU, and each player received a commemorative medal. The R&A kindly donated prizes of golf shirts, flags, and balls from the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, and the leading 4 Teams all received prizes.
Craigmillar romped in 14 points ahead of Alloa Golf Club representing Clackmannanshire, who also demonstrated the value of consistency with 5 scores all in the range of 32 to 35 for a total of 164. The Teams from Craigielaw, winners of the East Lothian Junior League, and Kilmarnock Barassie, winners of the Ayrshire League, tied for 3rd Place on 163 points.
Individual pride of place went to Ewan Milligan of Kilmarnock Barassie, handicap 4, who had a great 1 under par round of 70 including birdies at 15 and 16, and only 1 bogey, for a total of 41 points. This would surely make his Dad, Jim Milligan, former Scottish Champion and Walker Cup Player, very proud. Scoring was tough in the conditions, and the CSS went up two strokes to 73 (75 for Girls) equal to 34 points. The next best scorers were all on 38 points, Sam Hall, Ryan Yuill of Craigielaw representing East Lothian, and Taylor Kerr representing the South. The individual winners also received prizes donated by the R&A.
Mention should also be made of the hard-working Junior Convenors and Parents who brought their Teams and Players from all over Scotland. Many thanks to them and to all the willing helpers on the day.
The feedback received on the day from Players and Officials was very positive. This new Tournament will be run annually from now on and be hosted in different areas of the Country. It clearly has a secure future within Scottish Junior Golf and it will become a permanent feature on the Calendar. What better way to bring Teams of Juniors and Convenors from all over Scotland together to meet each other and to compete to decide the Champion Junior Club! There is hope that in future, our winning Scottish Club Team would compete against Club Teams from England, Wales and Ireland to decide who is the UK Champion Junior Club Team!
The impetus for this tournament came from a few individuals in East Lothian and a small Committee was formed, chaired by Ian Howarth, and comprises David Warren, Ric Foulner, Ken Wood, Peter Lowe and Paul Gibson. Andrew Coltart and Catriona Matthew agreed to be Patrons of the event.
Sadly, despite trying for over 2 years to do so, no sponsor came forward to help fund this event, but we hope to secure a sponsor for 2018! Details of a sponsorship package can be obtained from David Warren (Tel 07595 301425) who was the Tournament Director for the first event.
In researching for this event, David found that in recent years several long standing Junior Leagues in Scotland had either folded completely, or had reduced drastically in size. For League Matches, many Clubs were often struggling to field Teams of 6 Juniors, or even 4 in some cases, through the lack of numbers of Juniors who are willing to compete.
Our Committee regards this area of Club competition as a priority for all Clubs who wish to grow the game of golf, and also as a priority for investment by Scottish Golf. We would ask Scottish Golf to assist Convenors at Clubs and Secretaries of Leagues to help rejuvenate the “Grass Roots” Junior League system, in order to sustain the long term future of Golf in Scotland. This new Tournament has identified one way to go forward by providing an incentive to compete.
In 2018 the event will start its rotation around some of the top courses in different areas of the Country and provisionally, the 2018 event will be at Portlethen Golf Club near Aberdeen, on Sunday the 30th September. The Aberdeen Junior Pennant League will be the Organisers for that event.
Team scores and their best individual Players are included below, but for full details of scoring etc, visit eastlothianjuniorgolf.org.uk where photos of all the Teams can also be seen.
David Warren, Secretary, East Lothian Junior Golf League. 25/9/17