Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alyson McKechin (Elderslie) and Simon Fairburn (Craigielaw). Image by courtesy of the Scottish Golf Union. Click on it to enlarge.
Simon Fairburn and Alyson McKechin win 2009
Scottish junior champion of champions' titles

There was an East-West divide today in the destination of the 2009 Scottish Junior Champion of Champions golf titles – the tournament was rescheduled from last November 1 – with Simon Fairburn (Craigielaw) heading a Lothians 1-2-3 in the boys’ section and Alyson McKechnie from the Elderslie club near Paisley winning the girls’ title ahead of Rachel Watton (Mortonhall).
Fairburn returned a one-over-par 72 over The Duke’s Course, St Andrews to head a field of 34 boys. Beaten finalist in last year’s Lothians boys champion, the Craigielaw junior birdied the first, 12th and 17th but dropped shots at the seconhd, fifth, 14th and 15th in halves of 37 and 35.
He won by a single shot from Craigielaw clubmate Grant Forrest, last year’s Scottish Under-16 champion, and Tom Blennerhassett (Marriott Dalmahoy).
Forrest shed four shots to par over the second and third holes – a triple bogey 7 at the second and a bogey 5 at the third, his only deviations from par on the first nine holes which cost him 40 strokes.
He birdied the long 11th, the 14th and short 16th in a very good score of two-under-par 33 for the inward half which included only one bogey, at the 12th.
Blennerhassett had birdies at two long holes, the first and the sixth but dropped shots at the fifth, 10th, 14th and 15th in halves of 35 and 38.
Alyson McKechin won the girls title with a four-over-par round of 75 (39-36), one shot ahead of Rachel Watton (37-39) who, after starting at the 10th, dropped four shots over a three-hole span - the 16th, 17th and 18th. She had bogeys at the 16th and 17th and a double bogey at the 18th. She had birdies at the long sixth and the long 11th, dropping other shots at the fifth, eighth and 10th.
McKechin birdied the long first, the seventh, the long 11th and the short 16th. She had bogeys at the third, fourth, fifth, eighth, ninth, 10th, 14th and 18th.
In the girls' event Alyson McKechin, in only her second 18 holes of the year, returned a four over par score of 75 to win by one from Mortonhall's Rachel Watton. Local girl Rachel Hanlon (St Regulus) finished in third place with a 77 (+6).
McKechin, coached by SLGA National Coach Kevin Craggs, expressed her delight at lifting the first National title of the year "It's just amazing having only played one other round this year while on an SLGA squad coaching trip to Spain. However I have been working hard on the range and this is a nice reward for all the practice put in".
Meanwhile Lothians Boys Match Play Champion, Simon Fairburn lifted the boys title with a one over par total of 72, a score he was obviously delighted with, if not a little surprised "It feels great to win having come into the tournament not expecting much. Living in the Borders I have had very little golf with the way the winter has been but this gives me a great boost of confidence going into the forthcoming SGU Junior Tour Events and Scottish Boys Championship".
Fairburn, coached by Colin Brooks, finished one shot ahead of his clubmate and Scottish boys' Under-16s champion, Grant Forrest. Tom Blennerhassett (Marriott Dalmahoy) also finished on 73 but Forrest's two under par better back nine score of 33 was enough to relegate his Lothians team-mate into third place.
Limited play over the winter months had been a common occurrence for a number of competitors with many courses having been closed for long periods due to snow and frost. The Duke's itself was closed for 51 days as Arctic conditions swept the country but the course today was dry and playing well for the time of year and, as always, provided the competitors with a great test of golf.
Par 71
72 Simon Fairburn (Craigielaw) 37-35
73 Grant Forrest (Craigielaw) 40-33, Tom Blennerhassett (Marriot Dalmahoy) 35-38.
74 Ryan Beattie (Hawick) 39-35, Neil Beattie (St Andrews) 38-36, Alan Welsh (Torrance House) 37-37, Ewan Scott (St Andrews) 35-39, Connor O’Neil (Pollok) 34-40.
75 Cameron Farrell (Cardross) 38-37, Andrew McLachlan (Bonnyton) 37-38, Colin Baird (Bothwell) 37-38.
76 Stuart Boyle (Harburn) 39-37.
77 Ian Redford (St Andrews New) 38-39, Calum Stewart (Brora) 38-39, Liam Johnston (Dumfries & Co) 38-39.
78 Jamie Lynch (Falkirk) 41-37, Craig Ross (Kirkhil) 39-39.
79 Paul McPhee (King James VI) 40-39, Grant Bowman (Monifieth) 39-40, Jack Thorburn (Dunfermline) 38-41.
80 Jordyn Rhind (Uphall) 43-37, Fraser Thain (West Linton) 40-40.
81 Gary Chalmers (Dollar), Gordon Munro (Fraserburgh).
82 Roger Clarke (Moray), Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie), Thomas White (Milnathort).
83 Chris McKeown (Milngavie).
85 Daniel Flannery (Peebles), Greg Nicoll (Bonnybridge), Jamie Treasurer (Inverness), Craig Pirie (Millport).
87 Alexander Ferguson (Paisley).
89 Scott Baird (Tillicoultry.
75 Alyson McKechin (Elderslie) 39-36.
76 Rachel Watton (Mortonhall) 37-39.
77 Rachel Hanlon (St Regulus) 42-35.
79 Sammy Leslie (Westhill) 41-38.
80 Lauren Whyte (St Regulus) 40-40, Lesley Atkins (Minto) 39-41.
84 Eilidh Watson (Muckhart) 39-45.
85 Ailsa Summers (Carnoustie Ladies) 44-41.
87 Tara MacTaggart (Minto) 42-45.
88 Kate McIntosh (Broomieknowe) 46-42, Clara Young (North Berwick) 45-43, Ailsa Bain (Peebles) 43-45.
90 Alison Godwin (Glenbervie).
97 Rachel Irvine (Largs), Alexis Hutton (Falkirk Tryst).
98 Kirstin Scott (Milngavie).
104 Nicole Benson (Cawder).

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