Monday, May 10, 2010

Change of mind leads to Lothians title for Allyn Dick

Allyn Dick added the Lothians Championship to his impressive golfing CV, then revealed he hadn't originally intended playing in an event that saw him become the first Kingsknowe player to lift the title in exactly 30 years.
The 31-year-old, who beat Craig Elliot, his Carrickvale team-mate in the Dispatch Trophy, by 3 and 1 in a scrappy final, tried to get into the Lytham Trophy field but admitted that failed attempt had proved a blessing in disguise.
"I had hummed and hawed about playing in this but I'm certainly glad I did as it proved to be the right decision," said the new champion. "The Lothians Championship is steeped in history and I'm proud to have added my name to some famous ones on the trophy."
No-one could deny that Dick was a worthy winner after he overcame tough tests in every round, beating Bathgate's Simon Lockhart, John Yuille of the host club, Paul Drake of Pumpherston and defending champion Keith Nicholson en route to the final.
"This success has continued a great spell for me as my wife Gillian is going to have our first baby in November," added Dick, who has two Scottish Order of Merit tournament titles to his name, having won the West of Scotland Open in 2005 and the Cameron Corbett Vase last year.
Gillian is the daughter of Kingsknowe secretary Louise Fairlie and Dick only joined the Capital club at the start of last year, having played out of Shotts when he won the Scottish mid-amateur championship back-to-back in 2005 and 2006.
Through that association, he also won the Lanarkshire championship in 2008 but admitted this latest success was particularly sweet as it had vindicated the belief shown in him by the Lothians selectors.
"When I first started to play at Kingsknowe, I felt I was quite fortunate to play in the Lothians six-man team straight away as I felt I had to begin from scratch in a new area," said Dick. "It was unfortunate that I couldn't play in the Lothians Championship last year due to the fact I already had a holiday booked but this week has made up for that and it's a real honour to have won this title."
With Darren Coyle and David Ewen, the two other members of the Carrickvale side that will be bidding to win the Dispatch Trophy for an unprecedented fourth year in row up at the Braids in a fortnight, among those watching, Dick and Elliot failed to fire on all cylinders in the title showdown.
"Craig joked at one point that it felt as though we were playing in the B final," admitted Dick, who won the sixth and ninth to be two up at the turn before opening the door to Elliot, who had played better in beating Duddingston's David Miller in the morning semi-finals, when he drove against a tree at the 12th and lost that one to a par.
After both had played their tee shots at the next – a 183-yard par-3 – it looked as though the match was heading back to all square, Dick having missed the green well to the left after one of his wildest shots of the week while Elliot was just on the front of the putting surface.
But, as so often happens in match-play, the hole was turned on its head as Dick, after chipping to 25ft, holed the putt and Elliot took three to get down.
"That was a big swing," admitted Dick afterwards.
After his opponent had almost strayed out of bounds after catching the trees with his drive, Elliot, also a former Scottish mid-amateur champion, won the 15th to cut the deficit to two holes again but his brave bid ended when he found trouble himself off the tee at the 17th.
"The best player won on the day, simple as that," admitted a gracious runner-up. "I just lost it in the final. I started hitting snap hooks and then they were going the opposite way."
Allyn Dick (Kingsknowe) bt Keith Nicholson (Haddington) one hole
Craig Elliot (Carrickvale) bt David Miller (Duddingston) 5 and 4
Dick bt Elliot 3 and 1.



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