Thursday, July 28, 2016

Royal Aberdeen challengers meet in round

 of the last 32 at Balgownie

Local bragging rights will be at stake Thursday morning after two Royal Aberdeen members set up a fourth-round clash on their home course at the Scottish men’s amateur championship.
Experience will meet youth when three-time Balgownie club champion Steven Buchan, 38, faces off against Fintan McKenna, 18, with both one-handicappers drawing on their local knowledge to reach the last-32.
Buchan fired a 7-iron to two feet at the 17th to secure a 2 and 1 win over former Scotland boys cap George Burns and reach the fourth round for the first time. McKenna, meantime, just edged out new Scotland boys' Home Internationals cap Ben Ferguson by the same margin
“Local knowledge is definitely an asset,” said Buchan, who only met McKenna for the first time at the second tee today. “I’ve been a member here since I was 10 and it’s all about hitting it on fairways and greens. That is easy to say but hard to do. I’ve played guys knocking it 50 yards past me, but I’ve just focused on hitting it straight.
McKenna is only playing in the event after Grant Forrest pulled out, but he has taken his chance. Having shot a course record 62 in the Scottish boys' open stroke play at Royal Burgess last year, the local lad has found his form again.
“It’s the toughest I’ve ever seen the course, and managing your ball off the tee is crucial,” said McKenna, who worked as a marshal when the venue hosted the 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. “Coming into the event from fourth reserve I knew I didn’t need to play many practice rounds.”
After a lack of surprise results over the opening rounds, there were some upsets on day three. Matthew Clark, Calum Fyfe and Liam Johnston, all in Scotland’s men’s Home Internationals side at Nairn next month, all exited, as did the reigning Scottish boys champion Eric McIntosh.
The South African Amateur champion Craig Ross also lost out, beaten by Nairn’s Andrew Burgess 3  and 1, while the fifth seed also fell as Tantallon’s Calum Hill claimed an impressive 6 amd 4 victory over another Scotland international, Jamie Savage.
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Burgess, 21, said: “It’s a good scalp for me, and I felt I played really good golf. I knew I had nothing to lose so just wanted to give it a good run which I did.”
However, former pros Barry Hume, 34, and Euan McIntosh, 47, used their experience to negotiate paths to the last-32, both doing enough to progress.
McIntosh was four up with four to go, but was relieved to hole a 30 feet putt and finally see off his opponent, Mount Ellen’s Eamon Bradley, at the 17th.
“I’m struggling a bit and experience has won me the last three games,” said the Turnhouse player, coached by 1986 Scottish Amateur winner Colin Brooks.
Of the leading two seeds, Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten) and Connor Syme (Drumoig), both progressed with something to spare, while Glenbervie’s Graeme Robertson continued his form with a 7 and 6 triumph against another Royal Aberdeen player, Craig Leith. Nairn teenager Sandy Scott also continued his run to win through.
Australian Amateur champion Syme fired four birdies in a row from the 10th, making seven in total against Muckhart’s Robert Watson, and said: “I feel good. I’ve got a game plan this week and I’m trying to stick to it.”
Of the locals, a further Royal Aberdeen member in Mark Halliday also reached round four, beating Alyth’s Michael Brodie at the 20th.
The last-32 and last-16 ties are all played at Royal Aberdeen today  with car parlomg and entry free for all spectators.
Image of Steve Buchan by  Kenny Smith

 (last 32)
8.00 Steven Buchan (Royal Abdn) v Fintan McKenna (Royal Abdn)
8.08 Marc Watt (Inverallochy) v Jeff Wright (Forres)
8.16 Andrew Burgess (Nairn) v Chris Gaitens (Fortrose and Rosemarkie)
8.24 +Barry Hume (Haggs Castle) v Mark Halliday (Royal Abdn)

8.32 +Connor Syme (Drumoig) v Gordon Munro (Newmachar)
8.40 Stuart Easton (Irvine) v Kyle Godsman (Moray)
8.48 Euan McIntosh (Turnhouse) v Craig Stephen (Aboyne)
8.56 +Craig Howie (Peebles) v Jack Harling (Banchory)

9.04 Calum Hill (Tantallon) v Alasdair McDougall (Elderslie)
9.12 Andrew Gibson (Blairgowrie) v Fraser Carr (Crail GS)
9.20 Will Porter (Carnoustie) v Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie)
9.28 +Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten) v Andrew Davidson (Charleton)

9.36 +Sandy Scott (Nairn) v Malcolm Pennycott (Royal Burgess)
9.44 Jamie Stewart (Old Ranfurly) v William Walker (Belton Park)
9.52 Craig Morrison (Haggs Castle) v George Duncan (Windyhill)
10.0 Rob Paterson (Kilspindie) v Ben Murray (Portlethen)



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