Stranraer, Jemes Braid's last but not least!

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August 19th 2017
Published: August 19th 2017
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What a pleasant surprise...Stranraer was a combination of parkland and links with trees and terrain AND shots that rewarded a good bump and run. The drive from Prestwick in Ayr down to Portpatrick took an hour and 1/2 but it was an exceptional drive.

Portpatrick is a village by the sea...a small Martha's Vinyard/ Kalk Bay with a fantastic hotel called Fernhill. We booked Fernhill months ago on the advice of John and we secured rooms with breakFast and dinner at an amazing price. Fernhill, a quaint hotel, with views over the village below, was/is very comfortable with a restaurant and menu that, once again, knocks dieting out the window.

Stranraer, some 15 minutes down the road, near the ferry station, was the surprise of the tour. Greeted by a proper wind from the west, the course offered a great mix of long fours and challenging 3's. The one 5-par was best played conservatively, and that strategy paid off for me. The 5th hole, an awesome par-4 next to the sea, required a wind cheating drive and a well-placed long iron to survive without pain. I hit three off the tee only to find my first drive safely in bounds, 170 yards from the hole.

Mike and I both struggled with scoring despite keeping our balls in play. My promise to Janellen, my partner, for victory, was supported by her short hole play. We let a three hole lead (and an individual lead over Mike) slip back to all square before she parred the uphill 16th with a shot to take the mTch to dormey.

I secured a 3&1 win with two big shots and a good bump and run on the 17th and, after 10 matches (excluding 36 holes of foursomes at Muirfield) we are separated by a couple of points. 6 1/2 - 3 1/2 in the Matchplay will have Mike pressing as we only have three games remaining. However, every match has been competitve, regardless of our scores, and friendly, in spirit.

Portpatrick is a special place and friends from Northern Ireland, Robert (Rob) and Robert (Bertie) coming across on the ferry this morning to make some great "craic". They played behind us and shared a few "juices" after the golf in the village. We met another Robert who owns and runs a hotel and pub. He is a legend and has been awarded an MBE for saving lives through 25+ years of sea rescue.

We dined at the Fernhill Hotel - I had haggus with my main and all was good in Scotland after the 10th game in 10 days!

Tomorrow, with better weather, we will tee up at Partpatrick, a shorter course with special shot-making needs! Then we are off to Trump Turnberry and a great little whiskey stop.

Oh, well, someone must deal with the pain is good!


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