DAVID Stephens became the first player to retain the John Elmes Touring Trophy when he won Leominster Rankin Club Society's tour to Ayr.

But whereas Stephens was a comfortable winner by eight points in the Isle of Man last year, he was taken to the very last hole of the four matches on the society's first trip to Scotland in eight years.

Stephens, handicap 10, amassed 129 points over some Open qualifying links, while four-handicapper Kevin Gibbons was just one point behind in runners-up spot. Rob Arrowsmith, nine, was third with 122, while Rob Marriott, 19, was fourth on 121 in a close finish.

Twenty-four players competed at Ayr Bellisle, Irvine Bogside, Glasgow Gailes and Kilmarnock Barassie and, although the courses were a tougher test of golf than usual, the winning scores were better than last year as Stephens gained his third trophy overall.

Results - Ayr Bellisle: 1 Derrick Jones 43 pts, 2 Andrew Fletcher 39, 3 Rob Marriott 38; Irvine Bogside: 1 Chris Powell 36, 2 Rob Arrowsmith 34, =3 David Stephens 33, Kevin Gibbons 33; Glasgow Gailes: 1 Wayne Kuibida 36, 2 Kevin Gibbons 33, 3 Rob Marriott 30; Kilmarnock Barassie: 1 Martin Dowe 34, 2 Rob Arrowsmith 30, 3 David Stephens 30, 4 Kevin Gibbons 30.

The society's next competition is the Rankin Open for the Mathew Finney Memorial Cup at Leominster on Saturday, October 11.

l Pictured, tour winner David Stephens, flanked by runner-up Kevin Gibbons (left) and third-placed Rob Arrowsmith.