Well, the qualifying rounds for the County Championship, held this year at Prestonfield Golf Club, brought a shower of rain, shine and wind, followed in the afternoon by a shower of rain, shine and even more wind. The competitiors would all like it to be known that, in actual fact, it was blowing a total and utter gale which led to both rounds being reduction only. However, I’m not sure that is entirely correct. Yes it was windy and yes it was a 2 club wind for most of the day but I’m not sure one would label it a gale! But having been out, myself, for the 36 holes, I would agree that it was a long way round.

There were, inevitably, various tales of woe. From balls disappearing over the wall at the 11th and the wall at the 11th coming into one of the Prestonfield member’s games for the first time ever, to problems with the putts on the greens. Luckily the defending Champion did qualify for the match play stages despite a slight hiccup at the 36th hole. Having driven to just short of the green, the decision was made to make the round last as long as possible. After another 4 shots, the ball made it onto the green. The first putt was on line but died 2 to 3 feet short of the hole. The tap in for the 7 went slightly left and 2 or 3 feet past. The return slightly right, again leaving that tricky 2 to 3 foot length. The next …… guess which way? – left again and another 2 or 3 feet past and finally enough was enough, the bar was calling and, in amongst the hysterical laughter, the ball finally disappeared. Helpful hint to her opponent on Friday – ask her to putt all 2 to 3 feet putts!

After her terrific display in the Helen Holm, the morning round brought a tremendous gross 72 (1 under par, 3 under the CSS) for Rachael Watton. However, she fell away in the afternoon while Wendy Nicholson shone through with a level par and 2 under the CSS, 73. These two led the field on a 36-hole total of 154, but with Wendy’s better last round, she wins the qualfier and takes pole position for the match play stages. Unfortunately, Rachael is unable to play in the match play rounds as she travels to Wales later this week, as travelling reserve for the SLGA team for the Welsh Ladies’ Open Stroke Play Championship. Good luck to her in that and also to Jane Turner who is included in the SLGA team.

Back to the County Championship and the 16 qualifiers for the match play stages are: Wendy Nicholson (154), Noreen Fenton, Linda Caine, Gabrielle Macdonald (all 158), Karen Marshall (163), Kirsten Blackwood, Fiona Hunter, Kate McIntosh (all 164), Gillian Simpson, Louise Fraser (both 169), Claire Hargan (170), Hilary Laughland, Claire MacDonald (171), Sal Shepherd, Hannah Scott, Linda Bain (174)
CSS: 75, reduction only for both rounds

The first round of the match play for both the main and “B” Championships takes place on Friday 30th April, with the first game out at 9 am. The second round follows in the afternoon (first tee time 2 pm) with the semi-finals and finals on Sunday 2nd May (9.30 am and 1.45 pm). To see the draw for either the main or “B” Championship, click on the appropriate headings under Championship (C’ship M-play or B C-ship M-play) on the left hand side of this page. All spectators will be very welcome!

Good luck to all who are taking part.
MCLGA Championship