THERE’S a new name on the Hood Cup, the trophy for Helensburgh Golf Club’s gents’ championship, after Graeme Proud shrugged off pre-final nerves to lift the silverware for the first time.

Four past champions were among the 12 players who qualified for the matchplay stages of this year’s championship, but they all fell before the final, with Graham and Scott Barclay the last two left standing.

With neither finalist previously having their name on the trophy, it would have been understandable if the pair had shown some nerves on the first tee – with an hour-long rain delay not helping to ease the tension.

But while there were a few uncharacteristic wayward shots, it was mostly a story of sparkling golf from both players – Scott was one hole up after the first 18 holes, but Graham fought back over the front nine on the second round to open up a two-hole advantage at the turn, before finishing the contest with an excellent birdie on the 17th hole to win by a margin of 2 and 1.

The ladies’ final, by contrast, was a repeat of the 2022 showdown between June Haggarty and defending champion Gemma Canham; Gemma was out for her fifth win in a row and her ninth overall, and June was simply unable to match her opponent’s dominant display, with Gemma ending the contest on the 11th hole for a crushing 8 and 7 victory.

The final for the ladies’ bronze championship was a much closer affair, with Abby Stirling edging out Shona Bulloch by one hole.

The junior championship was also dominated by the current holder, with holder Arthur Tynan out for his third successive junior title; his opponent, young Adam Smith, tried his best, but was outplayed by Arthur’s excellent golf, with the defending champion, like Gemma, finishing on the 11th green for an 8 and 7 win.

A new junior competition for young players with higher handicaps was introduced this year for the first time, reflecting the growing number of keen young golfers in Helensburgh, with E. Parsons beating T. Feeney on the final hole.

Back in the gents’ section, the second class final, for the Peel Trophy, was closely fought between Joshua McCarthy and Kevin Robb; Joshua always seemed to have the edge, partly due his length off the tee, leaving Kevin playing catch-up, but Kevin’s short game kept the match close until Joshua was able to close it out on the 17th green to win by 3 and 1.

The gents’ third class final saw Steven Slee establish an early lead against Derrick Nash, and it was an advantage he never lost, running out the winner by a 3 and 2 margin to win the 1963 Trophy on its 60th anniversary.

Meanwhile, the Heron Senior Open attracted 133 players from golf clubs throughout Scotland, and the many visitors enjoyed a course in fine condition, which produced spectacular scoring.

A quarter of the field played to their handicap or better and it was Carrick Golf Club member Douglas Fraser who topped the scoring with 43 stableford points, two ahead of Helensburgh past captain Alan Bell in runner-up place.

Although an open competition, the leaderboard for the Ben Bouie Mixed Open Greensome tournament was dominated by local players.

Lady captain Anne Riding and her playing partner Don Griffin left the field in their wake with 41 stableford points to win the trophy, with two pairs tied for joint runner-up spot - Dominic Taylor and Abby Stirling, and the husband and wife duo of Peter and June Haggarty - on 38 points each.