Courier Golf winners
STEPHEN Gallacher goes into this week's Open at St Andrews in buoyant mood after another great showing on the European Tour in the Barclay's Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
The few shots that the big Kingsfield Golf Centre pro finished behind winner Eduardo Molinari could be put down to holing out.
The Italian had a good week on the greens and Stephen didn't.
But the equal fourth finish has boosted the Bathgate man to 18th on the Race to Dubai and put his season's earnings to well over the half million pounds mark. And he continues to impress everybody who sees him.
In Sunday's closing round he consistently drove further than colourful American John Daly, who is generally felt to be awesomely long. He also managed a few times to get ahead of Alvaro Quiros, his other fellow competitor, who is an almost freakish big-hitter of a golf ball.
St Andrews is a place Stephen loves as well – it was the scene of his greatest golfing success when he won the Dunhill there in 2004.
And with the way he is hitting the ball right now it could stage a welcome return to winning ways for the popular big man who will have the whole of the county rooting for him.
This has been the busiest time of year in the Linlithgowshire Golf Association calendar and in the biggest event Bathgate have won the Courier Trophy after a hard few days at Niddry Castle.
Throughout the week there had been good games. Greenburn accounted for Shotts in the quarters at the first extra hole while at the same stage Harburn were involved in a cliffhanger against West Lothian before getting through on a final putt.
To say that the weather did not behave itself during Sunday's final stages would be the mother and father of all understatements.
It was awful with first torrential rain followed by gale force winds.
Harburn soldiered through in the morning semis against Greenburn while Bathgate had a slightly easier passage against Uphall.
It became farcical in the afternoon. There was a postponement after a few holes but out went the players once more for Bathgate to get through by 5/4 in the end. This was Bathgate's second consecutive success and much praise has to be heaped on the little Niddry Castle course and the willing helpers who continued to make play possible. Few if any places in the county would have been able to finish play in such conditions.
The disappointment felt by Harburn in their loss might be soothed if they can win the Summer League. They are to contest the final against the West Lothian club this Friday at neutral Pumpherston.
Although they lost the second leg of their semi at Uphall by 3.5 to 2.5 their 6-0 win on their own course in the first leg saw them through comfortably.
Things were not so easy for the Bo'ness men. They trailed Bathgate by 4-2 after the first-leg away and managed to reverse this score on their own patch.
So Paul Dick for the homesters went out against Bathgate's Simon Lockhart for a sudden-death decider and it was Paul's birdie up the first which saw his side into the final.
It will be no less hard going on Friday with the Bo'ness men keen to reverse that Courier defeat.
Meanwhile the Seniors League is down to its final game this week with league leaders Harburn on 18 points but facing a tough one at Fauldhouse against Greenburn.
Nearest rivals Linlithgow, a point behind, have the slightly less daunting task at Bridgend while third-placed Uphall on 16 points are at home to Dundas. Anything might still happen.
At the other end of the age scale the Linlithgowshire Boys' Championships have taken place at their traditional venue, Bathgate, as was decreed by Andrew Walker who donated the Walker Cup for under 16's in the first half of last century. Now there are three Championships. As well as the Walker Cup, there are the Centenary Trophy for the under-13s and the Linlithgowshire Trophy for the under-18s.
What a day it was for Uphall. A clean sweep with pride of place going to Josh Renwick who won the top spot for the older competitors with a magnificent 68, three under the card, to belie his four handicap and beat more favoured home hopes Louis Gaughan and Ryan Boyle.
Results: Under-13s – C Tibbetts (Uphall) 87, C Curran (Harburn) 89 BIH, C Bryant (Harburn) 89, D McPhillips (Bathgate) 90.
Best net C Guest (Harburn) 70.
Under-16s – K Cooney (Uphall) 76, J Bayliss (Uphall) 79 BIH, R O'Connor (Uphall) 79BIH, C Brown (Greenburn) 79.
Best net R Hamill (Greenburn) 67.
Under-18s – J Renwick (Uphall) 68, R Boyle (Bathgate) 72, J Miller (Bathgate) 73, L Gaughan(Bathgate) 75.
Best net J McIntyre (Bathgate) 69.
Team Championship in stableford format – Uphall – Renwick/O'Connor/Cooney/West 113 points (three out of four counting).
Still at Bathgate where on Sunday the club had a dreadful day for its July Tankard and Eric Brown qualifier.
There was a relatively small field of 132 and from that number there were loads who failed to complete a card on a day CSS was up on SSS by a shot to 72.
Top man in the end was David Hunter with 77-7=70, just pipping Iain Collie (13) on a countback.
The Brown Trophy is a scratch event with eight qualifiers for the knockout stages.
Apart from Hunter the following are into the matchplay – L Gaughan, M O'Hara, R Boyle, P Russell, G Lynn, S McClory and G Miller.
Harburn, meanwhile, has had their usual Kirk Rosebowl qualifier last midweek and on Saturday the Captain's Trophy.
Phil Foster was best in the Wednesday event with a grand 77-13=64, a shot ahead of second-placed Alan Brown (12). Here Robin Tannerhill (21), Robert G Smith (17) and Andrew Nelson (8) all qualified as well on the 66 mark.
And on Saturday it was Tommy Toner at the top of the heap with 78-11=67, a shot ahead of joint runners up Stuart Tidy (5) and Mark McManus (9).