Sunday, July 24, 2016

Scottish Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen

In-form leftie Robert MacIntyre from Oban targets repeating 2015 title win at Balgownie


Having helped to win the European amateur team championship and finishing  beaten finalist at the British amateur championship in 2016, Robert MacIntyre, pictured right, hopes to continue his excellent match-play form when he defends the Scottish men’s amateur championship over Royal Aberdeen Golf Club's Balgownie links from Monday to Saturday (July 25-30) this coming week.

The Glencruitten GC, Oban player became the first left-hander in living memory to claim the crown at Muirfield 12 months ago, beating Craigie Hill’s Daniel Young by two holes after a thrilling afternoon comeback.

MacIntyre arrives at the renowned North-east links buoyed by his run to the final of the British amateur at Royal Porthcawl and playing his part in Scotland’s defence of the European team title in France.
The 19-year-old, who represented GB and I in retaining the St Andrews Trophy this past week, said: “I’ve never played Royal Aberdeen so it’s going to be a first. The Scottish Boys has been there a couple of times but I was too young to play then, so it will be exciting.
“I’ve played Murcar Links, up the road from Balgownie, and, from what I’ve heard, Royal Aberdeen is kind of like Murcar, perhaps more demanding. It’s hopefully going to be another good week. I’ve only one guy to think about and that’s Chris Curran who I play in the first round on Tuesday (9.21am tee-off). I have to take it one round at a time like I did last year. Each round is going to be tough.”
At the classic Balgownie lay-out, where Justin Rose won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in 2014, 256 players representing 129 clubs will battle it out for one of Scottish Golf’s top titles. Given the outstanding venue, which last hosted the Scottish Amateur in 1980, there were 319 entries for the event with the handicap ballot falling at 1.6.
While Ewen Ferguson is resting his hand injury and Grant Forrest misses out after a hectic schedule of amateur and pro events, a quality field will seek to claim glory. It includes five members of Scotland’s victorious European team, with MacIntyre joined by Connor Syme, the Australian Amateur champion, Jamie Savage, Craig Howie and Sandy Scott, the lowest handicapper in the field at +4.9.
The likes of Barry Hume, the Welsh Open Amateur champion, South African Amateur winner Craig Ross, ever-consistent Matthew Clark and Turnhouse’s in-form Euan McIntosh will also fancy their chances. Deeside’s Michael Lawrie, son of Open champion Paul, is among a strong local challenge, featuring eight Royal Aberdeen members.
“I’m playing four weeks on the bounce, with the St Andrews Trophy, the Scottish Amateur, the European Individual and the US Amateur, so it’s a really good spell,” said MacIntyre, who is among a number of top-ranked Scots chasing a place at the World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico in September. “The US Amateur, in particular, is one I’ve not played in before so it’s going to be a new experience.
“Last year, at Muirfield, was probably the best week of golf I’ve had. The British amateur was good this year in Wales, but I didn’t finish it off. To finish it off in the Scottish last year was pretty special, especially at that venue.”
The championship’s most notable achievements came in the 1960s, when the legendary Ronnie Shade took five consecutive titles from 1963 – 67. Ryder Cup stalwart Colin Montgomerie won the title in 1987 at the end of his amateur career, while Aberdonian David Law became the first player to win the Boys’ and Men’s match play titles in the same year with victory at Royal Troon in 2009, before winning again two years later at Western Gailes. 
Colin Farquharson writes:
 Based on their current World Rankings, the top seeds at Balgownie are:
1 R MacIntyre (WR 23)
2 C Syme (WR 29)
3 C Ross (WR 64)
4 C Howie (WR 70)
5 G Robertson (WR 97)
6 B Hume (WR 136)
7 S Scott (WR 147)
8 L Johnston (WR 244)
9 J Savage (WR 272)
10 C Fyfe (WR 279)
11 M Clark (WR 481)
12 L Allen (WR 591)
13 E Walker (WR 629)
14 C Hill (WR 745)
15 S Gibson (WR 770)
16 K Godsman (WR 801)
The event spans a full week at Royal Aberdeen, with the talented field seeking to reach Saturday’s 36-hole final.
Entry is free to all spectators, while Scottish Golf will run a dedicated media service, with regular news and updates on, on Twitter @ScottishGolf, Instagram @WeAreScottishGolf and Facebook and Flickr.

PREVIOUS "Scottish" finals at Royal Aberdeen:
This will be the 89th Scottish amateur championship since it was first played in 1922. 
It will be the seventh at the Balgownie links on the north side of the River Don, but 36 years since the last time when Nigg Bay's Donald Jamieson beat the legendary Charlie Green (who had won at Balgownie in 1970) over 18 holes in the 1980 final.
The seven finals hosted by Royal Aberdeen GC have been:
1924 W Willis Mackenzie bt W Tulloch 3 and 2.
1929 Jack Bookless bt J E Dawson 5 and 4.
1933 Jack McLean bt K C Forbes 6 and 5.
1948 A S Flockhart bt G N Taylor 7 and 6.
1957 J S Montgomerie bt J Burnside 2 and 1.
1970 Charlie Green bt Hugh Stuart 1 hole.
1980 Donald Jamieson bt Charlie Green 2 and 1
+Frank Coutts and David Greig were bronze medallists in 1980.
All these finals were scheduled for 18 holes. Next Saturday's final will be over 36 holes.



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