Balmore golfers win European silver medal

Balmore Golf Club trio Christopher MacLean, Neil McConnachie and James Wilson after winning the Scottish Men's Club Championship
Balmore Golf Club trio Christopher MacLean, Neil McConnachie and James Wilson after winning the Scottish Men's Club Championship

A team from Balmore Golf Club flew the flag for Scotland by finishing second in the European Men’s Club Trophy in Portugal.

Christopher MacLean, Neil McConnachie and James Wilson finished an agomnising one shot behind the winners from France in the 24-team event at Aroeira Golf Club.

But there was some consolation for MacLean who shared top spot in the individual standings.

The trio were representing Scotland having won the TSG Scottish Men’s Club Championship at Stranraer last month.

They were sixth after the first round, with MacLean also in the same position, his two-under 70 just spoiled by a double bogey on the 18th.

The second day saw him go one better to sit tied for second, five shots behind the leader. Wilson stormed back from a disappointing opening 78 with a 67 to lie T21 overnight, while McConnachie was tied for 24th, putting the team into second place ahead of the deciding round.

The third day saw MacLean carding another three-under round to finish with an impressive eight-under total of 208, making him the top individual player of the championship.

Wilson continued his form from the second day, a 70 giving him an aggregate 215, which saw him soar to a tie for tenth place while McConnachie finished T26 on 222.

With the best two scores from each day counting towards the club standings, the Balmore team’s total of 418 put them in a sound second spot above Germany’s Golf Club Hubbelrath on 421, but one behind the winners from Golf St Germaine en Laye in France.

MacLean, a business and marketing student at the University of Stirling, said: “It was good fun, a great few days. It was the first event for many of us in Europe and the course was tight and challenging, which suited me.

“We thought a top eight-finish would be a good result for us, so if you had said we would finish second and a shot behind at the start of the week, we would have bitten your hand off.

“I guess to lose out by a shot was disappointing, but for a small club like Balmore it was a great result. It was good for us and good for Balmore and I know everyone at the club is delighted.”

Each of the 16 Area Associations from Scottish Golf went through a qualifying process to determine their leading club for the Championship at Stranraer, represented by their three leading amateur golfers.