Neil Fenwick of Dunbar Golf Club won the Tomatin Pro-Am held over the courses at Royal Dornoch, Nairn and Castle Stuart. PG Taverns, together with Lloyd Saltman, won the team event.
Under cloudless skies, Fenwick completed his victory with a fine round of 66 at Royal Dornoch. The 27-year-old led from the start after an opening round of 65 at Nairn. He continued to head the way after a 71 at Castle Stuart, but the tournament was wide open going into the final day with the top eight players separated by just two shots.
Fenwick needed to produce his best to hold off the chasing pack and he managed it with an error-free round that included two birdies and an eagle at Royal Dornoch’s par-5 12th. Playing his final round at Castle Stuart, Greg McBain of the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre also fired a 66 to climb into second place, just one shot behind Fenwick’s winning total of 11-under-par. Fenwick picked up the top prize of £5,200.
“It was a great win for me, to lead from start to finish and hold off a really strong field to take the title was brilliant,” said Fenwick at the lively gala dinner held after the event at the excellent Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness. “I’ve been close the last couple of years, second last year and fourth the year before so I’m really pleased to get the job this year.”
Fenwick has a links background, playing out of Dunbar, and he believes that was a key to the three great rounds he produced over three of Scotland’s best links courses.
“The courses suit my eye perfectly, with the firm fast running fairways and a lot of tricky undulations,” he said “I drove the ball beautiful and set up a lot of straightforward approaches into many of the tougher holes.”
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There were 47 teams contesting the event with the field split into three to play the courses in rotation. With superb weather over the three days, the tournament showed the quality of golf that is available in the Highlands of Scotland.
“Played over three world-class courses, this event showcases this area brilliantly,” said Fenwick. “The team event is competitive but played in the best spirit. You could see from the smiles just how much everyone was enjoying it. Just a fantastic event.”
Coming out on top in that highly competitive team event was PG Taverns together with professional Lloyd Saltman. They scored a total of 263 points to beat Iain Colquhon and the Blue Machinery team by virtue of a scorecard playoff.
The team competition was played to a Stableford format with the best two of the four scores counting at each hole. The PG Taverns squad of Gordon Gihooley (a 4 handicapper from Haddington GC,) Davie Hill (an 8 handicapper from Archerfield) and Graham Hillan (a 4 handicapper from Strathaven GC) produced some excellent golf to post scores of 84 at Dornoch, 87 at Nairn and then a superb 92 at Castle Stuart. It was the third year the team has competed in the event. They were runners-up last year, but went one better this time out.
“We played the round of our lives at Nairn,” said Gordon Gilhooley of the PGA Taverns team. “It’s been our bogey course so we were really pleased with that, particularly given it was the windiest day. Then Davie got the magic going at Castle Stuart and Lloyd topped it off with a mind-blowing 200 yard 6-iron to the par-5 18th that ended a foot from the hole for a tap-in eagle.”
Gordon echoed the sentiments of all the competitors when he summed up the week,
“We could not have asked for more,” he said. “The courses are fantastic and they were in perfect condition, and the weather was even better. It’s just a great event.”
Golf Monthly’s team featuring editor Mike Harris and deputy editor Neil Tappin finished in a tie for 25th with scores of 76, 82 and 81.
“We all played our part,” said Neil. “The golf was incredibly enjoyable over three brilliant courses in warm sunshine. I hadn’t played Dornoch or Nairn before and they are simply stunning. I can’t recommend this event highly enough. Speak to your local pro and sign yourselves up for next year!”
Tomatin Pro-Am – Leading professional scores
1 Neil Fenwick (Dunbar GC) 65 71 66 202 £5,200
2 Greg McBain (Paul Lawrie GC) 66 71 66 203 £4,500
3 Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills) 69 67 68 204 £3,700
T4 Ross Kellett (Paul Lawrie GC) 69 68 69 206 £2,750
T4 Paul O’Hara (Clydeway Golf) 68 69 69 206 £2,750
6 Gareth Wright (West Linton GC) 72 69 66 207 £2,000
7 Lloyd Saltman (Archerfield) 71 70 67 208 £1,800
T8 David Dixon (Enmore Park GC) 71 70 68 209 £1,250
T8 Simon Edwards (Windermere GC) 66 72 71 209 £1,250
T8 Christopher Currie (Caldwell GC) 68 69 72 209 £1,250
T8 Stephen Gray (Hayston GC) 70 71 68 209 £1,250