Clark drives to victory
MATT Clark inspired a Renfrewshire Golf Union A team victory over Ayrshire in the West of Scotland Inter Counties Championship.
After a poor start, the 31-year-old, from Kilmacolm, slipped to a five shot deficit after five holes with a trapped nerve unsettling the star as he took on Loudon's Tommy McInally.
That was one of the six matches Renfrewshire manager David MacFarlane's side were losing in as the home side used their course knowledge to their advantage.
Whitecraigs' Gordon Stevenson started to turn the tide as he fought back for a half-match against Keith Hamilton. However, Jack McDonald from Barassie, one of Scotland's most promising golfers, overcame the challenge of Sam Binning of Ranfurly Castle and with Chris Kelly, Alistair McDougall and Ryan Mackenzie, in addition to Matt Clark, all down, it looked as if a win was slipping away.
There were great wins for Paul Alexander (Caldwell), Michael Daily (Erskine) and Bonnyton's Grant Beaton, who has won all of his three matches this season.
However, it was Matt Clark, like a limping Lazarus, who shocked his opponent by clawing his way back into the match from five down with some inspired golf. Having driven the par four 16th to get the match back to all square, Clark won the 17th and halved the last in three to get a point on the board which not even the most optimistic expected to see.
Team captain Ronnie Clark from Erskine had past Scottish Boy's Champion, David Wilson as his opponent and this deciding match swung one way then the other before Ronnie showed his course management experience and some of the best golf of the day to win with a birdie on the 17th to remain undefeated for his five West of Scotland appearances.
After the event, Clark said: "I was really struggling at the start, I had a trapped nerve and it was causing me a fair bit of pain.
"However, momentum is a strange thing in golf and that showed as the holes went by.
"I came from five down to just within touching distance so when my opponent was thinking the game was over, his opponent had an injury, things had changed.
"He could have taken his eye off the ball and although he went one ahead again after I pulled level, you could tell the momentum was with me.
"It was nice to turn it right around and win for the team, it was a great experience."
Delighted manager MacFarlane added: "In my first year as manager, I was under pressure to continue the winning run and all the players have given me a hundred per cent.
"We have a great pool of players in Renfrewshire and twelve in a row is now the target."
Full results from the event were as follows:
Gordon Stevenson - Whitecraigs halved match Keith Hamilton. Sam Binning - Ranfurly Castle lost three and two Jack McDonald. Matt Clark - Kilmacolm won one up Tommy McInally. Chris Kelly - Bonnyton lost two and one Stuart Robin. Ronnie Clark - Erskine won two and one David Wilson. Paul Alexander - Caldwell won five and four Stephen Wallace. Michael Daily - Erskine won five and four Stephen Spence. Alistair McDougall - Elderslie lost three and two John Haggerty.Grant Beaton - Bonnyton won six and four Steven Stamper.Ryan McKenzie - Erskine lost three and two Gordon Boyle.
This article appeared in The Gazette 23 Jan 13