McIntosh, 47, and 23-year-old McCook top the domestic standings after hugely impressive seasons
By Chris Johnston
Euan McIntosh and Hannah McCook might be separated in age by almost a quarter of a century but they share one thing in common: they have been the best golfers in Scotland this season, as evidenced by their respective Order of Merit wins.
McIntosh, 47, turned the clock back to take the men’s title. The Turnhouse man, reinstated as an amateur after a stint in the pro ranks, only returned to Scotland in April after 20 years away, and put the seal on his remarkable comeback year by winning the closing event, the South East District Open at Royal Musselburgh, by eight strokes – his first amateur victory since 2002.
McIntosh, who lost the Scottish Boys final to Alan Tait 30 years ago, had previously posted five top-five results in 2016, helping him earn a men’s Home Internationals cap for the first time since 1989.
With 577 points, he finished well clear of second-placed Matthew Clark from Kilmacolm (426 points), with Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest third on 412.
He credits his renaissance to a new-found love for the game and the coaching of Colin Brooks at the Braid Hills Golf
Centre in Edinburgh.
“I quit playing for ten years,” he admitted. “I started again last summer and it wasn’t good, to be honest. I just got the bug back for it. I started playing away and never really expected anything, but it’s obviously gone pretty well.”
Grantown-on-Spey golfer McCook, meanwhile, claimed the ladies’ OOM after a superb season in which she was crowned Northern Counties champion in May and reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Women’s Matchplay. The 23-year-old also earned valuable points on the road in the Irish Women’s Strokeplay, the Ladies British Amateur Championship, and British Open Strokeplay.
“It’s great to have won as it feels like it’s been a good year,” said McCook. “I achieved the best result I’ve ever had in every event I played in this year.
“It has definitely in part been down to the support from Scottish Golf, with the winter training in Abu Dhabi and being able to play in three professional events. That gave me the confidence to play well in amateur events.”
The Boys’ and Girls’ Order of Merits, meanwhile, were claimed by Jamie Stewart and Hazel MacGarvie respectively. Sixteen-year-old Stewart, from Old Course Ranfurly, pipped Scottish Boys’ champion Eric McIntosh to the title by just six points, whilst MacGarvie earned the girls’ title with 902 points from four events. That put her ahead of Jasmine Mackintosh from Hazlehead on 834, and Gullane’s Joanne Free on 759.
Downfield’s Graham Bell finished 26 points clear of his nearest challenger, defending champion Ronnie Clark of Erskine, to win the Senior Men’s Order of Merit, with Sheena Wood, from the Aberdeen Ladies’ Golf Club, the runaway winning of the Senior Women’s title. Her points haul of 998 was almost double that of her nearest rival, Kilmarnock Barassie golfer Alex Glennie.