Stewart fends off McNicoll and freezing cold

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Duncan Stewart chalked up his first win flying the Turnhouse flag after coming out on top in a ding-dong battle with playing partner Keir McNicoll.

The pair carded matching one-under-par 71s at Eyemouth as 66 players visited the Berwickshire course for an Edinburgh & East of Scotland Alliance event.

But Stewart, who is gearing up for the start of the Challenge Tour, claimed the overall spoils by virtue of a better inward half.

“It was one of the coldest mornings I’ve experienced on the golf course,” said Stewart, who hails from Grantown-on-Spey.

Now living in Edinburgh, this was his fourth East Alliance event of the season and he came out on top despite a mixed bag.

“With many of the greens still frozen solid, I birdied 1,6,7,13,16 and 18 with bogeys at 2,3,8,15,17,” he reported.

“I was playing with Keir and we had a good battle all day, but the hardest thing was trying to stay warm.”

One behind playing the last, Stewart hit driver-driver to be 50 yards short of the green before pitching to five feet and holing the putt. “There may have been a wee smile towards Keir and him saying a few things to me – but he still gave me a lift up the road,” said Stewart.

Dalmahoy six-handicapper Steven Lees topped the handicap section with a 72 after second-placed Daniel Ariens (Falkirk Tryst) was hit with a four-shot penalty for having too many clubs in his bag.

Longniddry’s Nathan Free was top trainee on 76 while Jim Watson (West Lothian) won the senior spoils with a 74 off 12.