Golf: North Berwick on verge of Winter title

NORTH BERWICK are within touching distance of a first-ever East Lothian Winter Golf League title after winning away to fellow challengers Gullane.

The home side got off to the better start with Jeff Aitken’s team up in four matches after the seventh hole. Only Torquil McInroy and Euan Donaldson held a slender lead for the visitors, but they went on to convert that to a 15th-green win over Fraser Syme and Murray Saunders.

At the top of the order, Gullane duo Scott Walker and Stuart Roberts held their one-hole lead over Chris Wood and Ally Simpson through 12 holes, but missed golden opportunities to extend and the match was halved.

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By that time the experienced Rob Jack and Duncan Low had secured the anchor match for Gullane, but North Berwick had reversed the deficits in the remaining two ties, Craig Hardie and Horry Lawson taking a one-hole lead to the 16th with Weston Main and Kevin Messer two up in the match behind.

With a rules issue holding up play in the match in front, it was match No. 4 that 
came up the home hole first, with high-quality approaches from Main and John Clelland setting up chances for 
both sides. In the end there was agony for Gullane’s Greg Houlston, who watched his birdie putt, and his team’s chances, slip by.

The rules question behind resulted in a penalty shot for the home team, and despite Alan Smith’s brave third shot to ten feet, Kenny Wright converted and their half in bogey-5 meant another one-hole win for the visitors.

Gordon Milligan’s team now need just a point from two remaining home matches to cap a remarkable first season in the top flight by lifting the trophy.