Stein and Fowler win Scotland's Club Handicap after a thrilling grand final on the 'Bonnie Banks'
By SCG Newsdesk
Lundin's Gary Stein and Stuart Fowler resisted the challenge of fellow club golfers from across the country to be crowned the Scotland’s Club Handicap champions at The Carrick on Loch Lomond.
The renowned tournament venue on the ‘Bonnie Banks’ welcomed 40 club pairings from Cruden Bay to Cardrona but, in the end, none could match 38-year-old Stein, 38 and his 18-year-old clubmate Fowler, who took the crown back to the east coast after firing a superb winning score of seven-under-par 64.
The best nett score recorded by any one of the two players in the team at each hole formed their aggregate, with the four and 13-handicappers dovetailing superbly for a three-stroke success.
Derek Urquhart and Stuart Robertson took the runners-up prize for the Logie team on four-under 67, with Gannochy’s Gary Tough and Nick Yates a stroke further back.
Stein, who works for the police, said: “We came through Lundin qualifying back in June, then went on to Pitlochry for the Regional Final. To come here and beat all the other competitors is just fantastic, and we’re all ready thinking about trying to defend the trophy next year.
“It’s nice to be crowned national champions, especially after our poor tee shots to start with on the tenth, where the TrackMan was set up. Stuart hit it about 50 yards and I snapped hooked it onto the 11th. We played well after that, though, and Stuart finished with three birdies. It’ll be nice to try and keep it going over the winter, as we’re partnered in the winter league, and then into next season.
“Stuart is an apprentice electrician and I hadn’t really met him until we were partnered at Pitlochry. This was just our second time playing together so it’s a great team achievement for us.”
The Scottish Club Handicap Championship has been the country’s biggest participation event since it launched in 1999, with 20,000 club members taking part each year.
Each club in Scotland was invited to host a free-to-enter local qualifying event for its members through an existing competition, with the two players topping the leaderboard going onto represent their club at one of four regional finals at Arbroath, Pitlochry, Irvine Ravenspark, and West Linton.
The Scottish Club Handicap Grand Final was this year supported by TaylorMade, Taste of Arran and Royal & Awesome, as well as The Carrick. Indeed, Royal & Awesome prize vouchers for the ‘nearest the pin’ competitions went to Kerr Middleton (West Linton) and Sandy Roberts (Cruden Bay), while Robbie Murdoch from Porlethen won the men’s long drive. competition. In the female section, the longest drive for a Taste of Arran hamper went to Susan Cowie of Comiston Ladies.