A young greenkeeper blazed his way to victory at the stunning Irvine Golf Club in Ayrshire to claim the BIGGA National Championship 2012 sponsored by Charterhouse and Kubota.
Oly Browning, from Stocks Golf Club in Hertfordshire, hit a superb par opening round of 71 on his way to claiming the coveted prize by three shots.
The 23-year-old, who plays off scratch, said: “I kept it on the fairways and didn’t take any chances – I only got my driver out three times over the two days. This is probably the biggest trophy I’ve ever won. The golf itself was terrific but it’s also been really good fun, I had a good laugh with all of my playing partners.”
Ayrshire enjoyed what BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton described as “the best two days of weather imaginable” with unbroken sunshine combining with the rolling countryside to provide a breathtaking vista for play.
BIGGA members and trade representatives flocked from as far afield as Ireland and the south coast to pit their wits against the course – which even in the superb conditions proved hugely challenging.
Head Greenkeeper Derek Wilson and his team were overwhelmed with congratulations on the course. Impressed Simon Woolley, from Brickendon Grange Golf Club said: “It’s absolutely gorgeous. Everything about it is superb. The greens are brilliant. If you don’t hole a putt it’s your fault!”
Gavin Robson from Burton-on-Trent Golf Club added: “The real highlight for me has been the camaraderie. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old colleagues and also meet new people from across the industry.”
Carnoustie’s Duncan Cairnie and Gordon Sangster from Cathkin Braes Golf Club were three shots behind Oly on 149 –Duncan claiming the runner-up spot by virtue of a superior second round. Kenneth Mitchell from St Andrews won the Challenge Cup for best nett score with 146.
The competitors and officials enjoyed excellent hospitality in the traditional clubhouse, and sponsors Charterhouse and Kubota once again offered first-class support for the event.
As the sun set on a hugely successful tournament, thoughts turned to next year’s venue – Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire.