Reay ClubGolfer wins club championship

Ross Munro has become the third junior boy, and possibly the youngest in the club’s history, to become Reay Golf Club’s champion.

Reay ClubGolfer Ross Munro

 

(Picture by Evan Sutherland:  Ross Munro with trophy, brothers Gregor and Euan (4th and 5th from left) with other promising juniors from Reay GC's ClubGolf programme)

Ross Munro has become the third junior boy, and possibly the youngest in the club's history, to become Reay Golf Club's champion.

It was almost beyond the wildest dreams of the 17 year old 7 handicapper to win the title as a junior.  But as he worked through the strokeplay rounds, confidence growing with each new adult beaten, he found himself in the matchplay stages of the quarter finals.

"Although I decided just to focus on one match at a time I was quite determined going into the event," said Ross. "When I got to the final I really wanted to go one final push because I thought I might become the youngest if I did win it."

And win he did, overcoming the experienced and consistent Lee Parnell 3 and 1. "Lee has won the title a few times before so he is a pretty good player and one of the most consistent players at the club," continued Ross.  "Lee is a competitive guy who wants to win but I think at the same time he was quite pleased for me and he took it quite well."

Winning an adult title aged 17 is a considerable feat in itself, but what makes the story unique is that Ross, and his two talented younger brothers, Gregor and Euan nipping at his heels, are from a non-golfing family.

Ross was first introduced to golf by Reay Golf Club's volunteer Evan Sutherland who has been taking the national junior programme, ClubGolf, into local schools for eight years.

A P7 pupil at the time, Ross was so impressed by his introduction that he immediately enlisted for the club's Friday night ClubGolf coaching, and he took his brothers along with him.

"As soon as we went to the club we have had the golf bug ever since and have played non-stop," said Ross.

"From that first Friday night we enjoyed coaching from the start and getting to play a few holes afterwards.  Once we got used to playing three holes we moved up to six, then nine, which eventually led up to playing in 18-hole competitions.

"Evan is the only coach I have really ever had and his coaching has made a huge difference. My swing is probably the best part of my game and that's due to Evan."

Evan's advanced ClubGolf coaching group includes six juniors with either single or low teen handicaps.  One of them is 17 year old Eleanor Tunn - also from a non golfing family - who last summer set a new course record at Reay, beating the long-standing ladies score of 71 by 2 shots.

A healthy rivalry exists between the juniors, and in particular the brothers. One disadvantage of being the oldest is that when Gregor and Euan, 14 and 12 at the time (along with another club 14 year old, Tom Ross and James Hawes, aged 13) were invited to join the Scottish Golf Union's North District squad last autumn, Ross was already too old for consideration.

Ross has only been playing in competitions seriously for three years but has made big improvements this summer and following the club's championship his confidence is brimming.

Having put Highers behind him in May and gained a conditional place at Dundee University to study dentistry, dependent on his getting an A in biology, he could have his best opportunity yet to realise his golfing ambitions.

"My handicap is 7 at the moment I'm hoping to get that to sub 3 by the end of the season," he said. "And since I finished my exams I've been concentrating on golf and I have been playing every day.

"Getting into the university team will give me more free coaching and you get competitive games each week which keeps your game sharp.  And hopefully if I do well in the uni team I might get a chance to get into the Scottish team.  That would be my ultimate aim but obviously my short term goal is to get into the uni team, and to get into uni first."

The Reay Golf Club trophy sits proudly on the family mantelpiece and sitting in full sight of the family is already having an interesting effect in bringing out the competitive instincts of Gregor and Euan.

"I've got a nice cup which is sitting at home on the mantelpiece," added Ross.  "There are other good juniors between us but Gregor has already said he wants to jump in and get the trophy."

It's been seven years since the previous junior winner's name, Gavin Sutherland, was engraved on the silverware. And some 30 years before that Raymond Taylor, 17 at the time, is on it as the champion. It might be a far shorter gap before the next junior name appears.

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