Tyneside’s James Wilson became the first English winner of the 72-hole Battle Trophy Open at Crail Golfing Society’s Craighead links over a typical sunny, breezy seaside weekend, the second event on this season’s Scottish Golf Men’s Order of Merit circuit.
His brilliant third round, course record equalling, nine-under-par 63 included an eagle and eight birdies and lacerated Euan Walker’s lead from five strokes to one.
Playing in the worst conditions of the day, Kilmarnock Barassie man Walker could birdie only two holes in his last 27 and was unable to hold the charging Wilson at bay. Following the warm and sunny weather of the first two rounds, the third round was played in perfect golfing weather, which allowed James Wilson the chance to go for every pin and make the most of his chances. However, the wind got steadily stronger as Sunday wore on until it was tearing through the course at over 20mph.
In such conditions, the closing 69 of Stonehaven’s Scottish Amateur Champion, Sam Locke’s was impressive and also puts Wilson’s last-round 73 into some perspective. Commenting on his win, Wilson said: “I have entered the Lytham Trophy, so felt that I needed some competitive golf as preparation and having heard about the Battle Trophy tournament , I took a chance and travelled up from Newcastle.
“I have been very impressed with the standard of the Crail course, the condition of the greens and the very high standard of golf being played. There are a lot of good golfers in the North-east of England who should make the effort to come here and play in this competition. They would enjoy it.”
Euan Walker, who had led the tournament throughout the first three rounds, was sanguine in defeat, stating that he was happy with his performance and he could not have done much more in the last round, such was the effect of the weather.
Recent winner of the Craigmiller Park Open and Scottish Champion of Champions title at Leven, Keiran Cantley was disappointed not to have ever got his challenge going properly, explaining that he could not his putting touch had not been what it needed to be.
Crail Golfing Society is the seventh oldest golf club in the world, having been formed 231 years ago in 1786. The Society has two courses: Balcomie Links, which was laid out by Old Tom Morris and opened in 1895, and Craighead Links, which was designed by Gil Hanse and opened in 1998. The Society is a traditional members’ club with over 1400 members across the globe and also welcomes over 9,000 visitor rounds each year.