Non-stop rain and a course shrouded in mist turned the first round of the 120th Edinburgh Evening News Dispatch Trophy into a war of attrition at The Braids.
But the day was lit up by the smiles of Lochend and Edinburgh Leisure after they both pulled off shocks in the golfclubs4cash-sponsored event against two recent past winners.
Pride of place undoubtedly went to a Lochend quartet comprising of Jason Harkins, Graham Markey, David Graham and Alan Thompson.
With all due respect, they wouldn’t have been fancied to beat a Carrickvale side comprising of Allyn Dick, Craig Deerness, Craig Elliot and Darren Coyle.
Dick, Elliot and Coyle, after all, had all been members of the side that chalked up a record-breaking three wins in a row in the event from 2007-09 while Deerness had been on the two triumphant teams since then.
But, as so often happens in this event, reputations counted for nothing as Lochend enjoyed what was arguably the club’s best day since lifting the trophy for the one and only time in 1994.
“We are certainly pleased with that, “ admitted Markey after joining forces with Harkins to finish three up on Dick and Deerness in the top match.
After the Lochend pair had taken advantage of their opponents finding the gorse at the 16th, Harkins chipped to a couple of feet to set up a birdie at the last.
That sealed a memorable victory after Graham and Thompson had won the 16th and 17th at the back after finding themselves four down to Elliot and Coyle.
“We were the big underdogs when you see how many times they have won it in recent years, but we did a good job of keeping it in play most of the day, which was crucial in these conditions,” added Markey.
Earlier, an Edinburgh Leisure side made up of father and son Kenny and Matty Craigie along with Matty Harper and Scott Findlay had been equally chuffed to beat the 2015 winners, Hailes.
“That’s a great scalp for us,” declared Craigie snr after joining forces with Harper to finish two up at the front while the back pairing also did their bit in securing a 3&2 success.
Edinburgh Leisure now take on BBT after the Turnhouse team won at the 19th against RICS in the first match of the day.
Stevie Robb holed a six-foot birdie putt at the last for BBT at the front before RICS did likewise at the back before Mark Scoular and Scott Macpherson sealed BBT’s win with an up-and-down birdie at the first extra hole.
Defending champions Mortonhall survived a stiff opening test against Swanston side Colinton Mains to set up a second-round meeting with Silverknowes Over 50s.
“It was a titanic struggle, but we got there in the end,” said Mortonhall’s Iain Dickson after digging deep with his partner Duncan Hamilton to win the 16th and 18th, the latter with a chip-in birdie.
“It is nice to come through our opening tie. I wouldn’t say that we feel any pressure as the defending champions, but there is definitely a bit more expectation.”
It was a great day for two of the young teams in this year’s line up, as well as two newcomers to the event.
Stephen Gallacher Foundation and Lothians Golf Association were both up against teams with local knowledge but passed their tests with flying colours in beating Braids United and Harrison B.
Representing the Stephen Gallacher Foundation flag were 15-year-old Connor Currie, 16-year-old Calum Robinson and 17-year-old duo Liam Currid and Jack McDonald.
And, on an equally encouraging note, the Lothians GA line up consisted of 16-year-olds Sam Hall and Lewis Irvine, 17-year-old Joseph Cookson and 18-year-old Kyle Wilson.
For both Sunflower Financial Planning and Dirleton Castle, meanwhile, it was a winning start in the event as they beat Dunbar Castle and former winners Rhodes respectively.
Partnering Gregor Munro at the front for Sunflower Financial Planning, Douglas Robb came within a whisker of making a hole-in-one at the ninth.
“It was half a roll away from going in,” he reported of a 4-iron. “But it would have been a lucky hole-in-one if it had gone in as it (his tee shot) was an in off the bank on the right!”
Robb, who is a member of Royal Burgess, broke his back two years ago and has only been able to get back playing golf again after having spinal fusion surgery, the procedure that saved the career of Tiger Woods.
“Tiger’s surgery was slightly different as he has no metal work in his back whereas I have support pins,” said Robb. “Like him, though, I am back playing pain-free after having a couple of years away from the game.”
The top Dirleton Castle pairing of Greg Houlston and Murray Saunders won seven holes in a row from the 12th as they linked up effectively with former Lothians champion Benn McLeod and Stuart Menzies.
After helping Kilgour Wealth Management record the biggest win of the day with a 9&7 victory over Prestonfield, Stuart Turner admitted: “That was a war attrition out there!
“I always wear a glove on each hand, so I have gone through 14 due to it being so wet.”
Praising the course, he added: “The greens are in great nick. They are like night and day since the new irrigation system was put in up here.”
Harrison, who were semi-finalists 12 months ago, showed the benefits of their pre-event warm up in Tenerife - the weather was different, admittedly - with a comfortable passage at the expense of 2012 winners Caermount.
Dougie Waugh and Stuart More won a string of holes around the turn at the front while Scott Knowles and Allan Stewart also got on a run on the back nine.
“I tried to take out a couple of Harrison members,” said Knowles of his pulled drive at the first, “but it wasn’t too bad thereafter.”
Tantallon 2, last year’s beaten finalists, fell at the first hurdle this time around, though that defeat did come at the hands of six-time winners Silverknowes.
Tam Caldwell and Graham Robertson finished two down at the front, but that was offset by Keith Reilly and Murray Paterson winning eight up at the rear.
Other opening-round winners were Watsonian, Edinburgh Thistle, Hailes B, Royal Burgess, Harrison Generations and Munro Heating, who beat Cramond at the 19th.
RICS (P Ledingham and B Tait 0; M Armstrong and C Scott 1); BBT (N Anderson and S Robb 1; M Scoular and S Macpherson 0).
BBT won at 19th
Hailes A (D Crolla and A Rowe 0; A Mackay and G Malone 0); Edinburgh Leisure (M Harper and K Craigie 2; S Findlay and M Craigie 1).
Edinburgh Leisure won 3&2
Stephen Gallacher Foundation (C Currie and C Robinson 0; L Currid and J McDonald 4); Braids United (K Hume and P Gillan 0; S Myles and M Rutherford 0).
Stephen Gallacher Foundation won 2&1
Dunbar Castle (S Doyle and G Love 0; C Yuill and C Greco 0); Sunflower Financial Planning (S McLean and O Hughes 4; D Robb and G Munro 0).
Sunflower Financial Planning won 4&3
Dirleton Castle (G Houlston and M Saunders 4; S Menzies and B McLeod 0); Rhodes (W Halliday and B Ford 0; J McMorland and G Burns 0).
Dirleton Castle won 4&3
Bank of Scotland (C Burgess and A Stevenson 0; J Gallacher and N Sutherland 0); Watsonian (R Paterson and H Carruthers 2; A Hogg and G Nicolson 3).
Watsonian won 5&4
Caermount (E Mair and G Henshaw 0; G Mackenzie and A Thomson 0); Harrison (S More and D Waugh 5; S Knowles and A Stewart 1).
Harrison won 6&4
Prestonfield (C Cheape and G Bisset 0; R Myles and K Campbell 0); Kilgour Wealth Management (G Santana and N Hamilton 4; S Turner and D Downing 5).
Kilgour Wealth Management won 9&7
Mortonhall (D Hamilton and I Dickson 1; S Scott and G Clark 1); Colinton Mains (R Fergus and S Fergus 0; G Millar and K Brown 0).
Mortonhall won 2&1
Cramond (C Scott and P Heggie 3; C Milligan and I Doig 0); Munro Heating (T O’Connor and M McAdam 0; F Martin and C Munro 3).
Munro Heating won at 19th
Merchants (J Hunter and M Leitch 2; F Smith and A George 0); Edinburgh Thistle (G Bridgman and D Anderson 0; B Anderson and I Cropley 4).
Edinburgh Thistle won by two holes
Edinburgh Western (D Wilson and A Rennie 0; D Cameron and K McFarlane 1); Hailes B (M Cairnie and G Birrell 4; S Finlayson and C Symington 0).
Hailes B won 3&2
Carrickvale (C Deerness and A Dick 0; C Elliot and D Coyle 2); Lochend (J Harkins and G Markie 3; D Graham and A Thompson 0).
Lochend won by one hole
Carrickvale B (J Kerr and P Cunningham 0; J Cullerton and T Finnigan 0); Dunbar (B Shearer and G Thomson 5; D Kilfara and K Simmants 0).
Dunbar won 5&4
Tantallon 1 beat Mount Vernon by a walkover
Lothians (Sam Hall and Joseph Cookson 2; Kyle Wilson and Lewis Irvine 5); Harrison B (Justin White and Donny Munro 0; Simon Moggie and Bryan Byers 0).
Lothians won 7&6
Tantallon 2 (R Gill and F Symon 2; L Brown and G Pugh 0); Silverknowes (T Caldwell and G Robertson 0; M Paterson and K Reilly 8).
Silverknowes won 6&5
Royal Burgess (N Sneddon and G Heeles 0; M Pennycott and A Rigby 4); Swanston (A Hunter and A McKenzie 0; G Dighton and M Evans 0).
Royal Burgess won 4&3
Royal Bank of Scotland (J Pow and S Cochrane 0; J Brown and S Jamieson 0); Harrison Generations (G Paterson and D Torrance 3; S Soutar and M Hyson 0).
Harrison Generations won 3&2
Sunday’s second-round draw
7am BBT v Edinburgh Leisure
7.15am Stephen Gallacher Foundation v Sunflower Financial Planning
7.30am Dirleton Castle v Watsonian
7.45am Harrison v Kilgour Wealth Management
8.00am Mortonhall v Silverknowes Over-50s
8.15am Kilspindie v Silverknowes Generations
8.30am Murrayfield v Hailes C
8.45am Stewart’s Melville FP v George Heriot’s FP
9.15am Lothians Boys v British Rugby Club of Paris
9.30am Turnhouse v Heriot’s Quad
9.45am Kilgour Private Clients v Ye Monks of Ye Braids
10.00am Munro Heating v Edinburgh Thistle
10.15am Hailes B v Lochend
10.30am Dunbar v Tantallon 1
10.45am Lothians v Silverknowes
11.00am Royal Burgess v Harrison Generations