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News Posted: 11th August 2008

Last Saturday saw the biggest golfing event of the year take place at Dale when 70 players turned up to play in the 36 hole Shetland Open sponsored by J W Gray & Co and The Famous Grouse.

The higher handicappers were off just before 7.00 with weather forecasts indicating that there was a chance of the usual Shetland Open downpour, however the only problem for the early starters appeared to be the midges. A warm morning with only a light breeze made for good scoring conditions with the course once again in excellent condition with the greens being slightly faster than players were used to after being cut on Friday and again on Saturday morning.

Leading the way after round one was last year’s winner Robbie Jamieson and Tom Simpson who both posted excellent rounds of 71 to share the lead, two shots back with 73 was this year’s form player Alan Harcus, young Jordan Leask and not so young Dougie MacDonald. A further shot back on 74 were Michael Boxwell and Ernie Smith with five players back on scores of 76.

Robbie’s 71, net 65 also meant he was joint leader in the handicap with Stanley Sinclair who has also been playing some good golf this season. Sinclair posted a first round score of 77, net 65. One shot further back were scratch contenders MacDonald and Simpson whose net scores were both 66 along with three other players, John Nicolson (89), Paul Foster (79) and Dougie Shearer (76). One shot further back was Glenn Gilfillan at last showing some of his unfulfilled potential with a score of 86, net 67.

Thankfully the weather held off until late afternoon when the temperature dropped and the rain came. Most players managed to finish their rounds without getting soaked but the last half dozen groups got the worst of the day’s weather.

The lowest scores in the afternoon came from Alan Harcus and Dougie MacDonald who both came in with rounds of 74 meaning they both also had overall scores of 147. First round joint leader Robbie Jamieson didn’t fare so well in round two as his 78 gave him a cumulative score of 149 while Jordan Leask’s second round of 75 gave him an overall score of 148. It had looked for a while that a play-off between Harcus and MacDonald may be required to settle the competition, with a few players still out on course the worsening weather meant that good scores would be hard to come by. Joint first round leader Tom Simpson needed to post a score no worse than 75 to stay ahead and that is exactly what he did. Simpson’s 75 gave him a total gross score of 146 which was enough to become Shetland Open champion. A well deserved victory, particularly as he had to play in the worst of the weather in the second round.

In the handicap section John Nicolson was in the clubhouse with a second round score of 88, net 65, giving him an overall net score of 131, which was going to take some beating. There were still a few players who could overtake him but with the weather deteriorating this was getting less and less likely. Whalsay’s Robbie Irvine had a good second round adding a 79, net 66, to his morning round of net 68 giving a net total of 134. A seven on the fourteenth hole spoiled Dougie Shearer’s chance of returning a low enough score but still posted a decent score of 77, net 67, to give a net total of 133. This meant that the Shetland Open handicap trophy would be Nicolson’s first ever golfing victory, but a good one to start with.

Nicolson therefore took first place and the Open trophy on a score of net 131 while Dougie MacDonald’s net 133 took second place by virtue of a better inward nine holes. Dougie Shearer was in third, also on net 133 with Robbie Irvine in fourth place on 134. Stanley Sinclair (135) took fifth place and Ian Pottinger (136) sixth. Geo Sim took seventh place and Paul Foster eighth, both on scores of 137. James Ramsay was in ninth place on 139, this was quite an achievement given that he had a 15 on his card.

Simpson lifted the scratch trophy on a gross score of 146, just one shot ahead of Alan Harcus (147). Dougie MacDonald was also on 147 but took second place in the handicap so Jordan Leask took the prize for third place with a score of 148. Robbie Jamieson was fourth on 149 while Dave Howells was fifth on 154 with Ernie Smith in sixth place, also with a score of 154.

Other prizes went to Ronnie Birnie who was nearest the pin in two on the 6th, Alan Harcus who had the longest drive on the 11th, Maurice Clark who was nearest the pin on the 14th and Tom Simpson who was nearest the pin on the 2nd. The best scratch round outwith the prizes went to Michael Boxwell for his first round 74 and the best handicap round outwith the prizes went to Stuart Jarvie for his second round net 66.

Captain Stuart Fox welcomed Iain Johnston from J W Gray & Co to present the prizes to all the winners. Fox went on to thank Jasmine and her staff for the catering, the bar staff, Alan Preshaw and Gibbie Blance for their duties as starter and scorer, the greens staff for the immaculate condition of the course once again and the sponsors J W Gray & Co and The Famous Grouse for their continued involvement in another very successful event.

  • Iain Johnston (JW Grays), Tom Simpson, John Nicolson and Capn Fox.  » Click to zoom ->

    Iain Johnston (JW Grays), Tom Simpson, John Nicolson and Capn Fox.

  •   » Click to zoom ->