The seventh Ronnie Coyle/Ally Gourlay memorial golf day took place on a gloriously warm and sunny day on Sunday 18 June 2017.

As ever, the venue was the No.3 Course at Gullane in East Lothian with the entire planning, organising and managing of the day being in the hand of Rovers uber-fan John Greer; he did an incredible job, backed by the catering team in the Clubhouse and Alison Greer – the more talented half of that family!

Twenty five would-be golfers turned up this year along with all of Ronnie’s family who travelled from Paisley and a number of Ally’s friends. The presence of Peter Hetherston, Jock McStay, Gordon Arthur and Colin Harris made it an extra special day for those of us who, for years, cheered them from the terraces.

The dry conditions made for a fast running golf course but it was far from easy as heavy rough throughout punished any errant shot, especially from the tee.  Some of the scoring on the front nine proved to be bordering on the miraculous, with John Rodger and Douglas Mackie in particular burning things up with 24 stableford points which, translated into everyday golf terms, was the equivalent of shooting six birdies and three pars. Tucked in just one point behind was Gordon Arthur while David Proudfoot, Jim Clark, John Richardson and Jock McStay couldn’t be ruled out being just three back of the leaders.

The back nine is the tougher half of Gullane No.3 and it wasn’t too long before it, and the pressure of trying to win this prestigious event, took its toll on many.  After 14 holes, it looked as if Gordon Arthur was going to triumph.  He stood on the 15th tee with what was shaping up to be the greatest round of his life and with a four point lead.  Sadly, our former stopper’s nerves failed him at the death in a way that would have been all too familiar with those of us who watched the penalty shoot-out at Stark’s Park a few weeks back.  This allowed David Proudfoot to emerge from the pack with his incredible finish, which included a precious birdie on the difficult 16th hole, allowing him to hit 43 points – enough for the stalwart Rovers fan to lift the Ronnie Coyle Quaich.

Gordon Arthur’s late failures also cost him the opportunity to take the Ally Gourlay Cup, a competition open only to ex-players, as Jock McStay’s very steady golf over 18 holes enabled him to reach 40 points and so defend the trophy he had lifted in 2016.

A special mention also to  Rovers fan, Greig Peden, whose natural golfing talents saw him play his 18 holes in just 69 shots which is the best ever round of golf by anyone in the history of the event.

As ever, the golf was followed with everyone tucking into a steak pie dinner in tribute to what was Ronnie’s favourite meal; all that is except the winner who is vegetarian – maybe there’s a lesson there for the rest of the participants.

The event closed with a few fantastic words of thanks from Peter Hetherston and John Greer with an invite for us all to come back and meet up again in 2018.

The event also raised the magnificent sum of £208 for donation to the Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy, a service that does so much for cancer victims and their families from all across Fife.

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