Thursday, May 27, 2010


Armstrong seeks missing link in
his Capital collection
Steven Armstrong is hoping to find the missing link in his Capital collection by helping BBT lift the Evening News Dispatch Trophy for the first time at the Braids this weekend.
"I've won the Lothians Boys, the Lothians Mens, the Lothians Champion of Champions and also the Stuart Cup, so the Dispatch Trophy is the only thing that's missing," admitted the former professional.
In tonight's quarter-finals up at the Braids, Armstrong, pictured by Cal Carson Golf Agency, and his team-mates, fellow Turnhouse members Olly McCrone, David Marshall and Kevin Messer, take on Silverknowes in what promises to be a cracking encounter.
Two years ago Marshall and Messer were in the Third team that reached the final and Armstrong is delighted to have the former Dalmahoy duo on board. He said: "They're both experienced players when it comes to match-play and are also proven winners, so having that sort of mentality in your team can only be a good thing."
Bidding to get their hands on the trophy again for the first time since 2006, Silverknowes have been in scintillating form in their two matches so far.
In the third round alone, Tam Caldwell and Graham Robertson had six birdies at the front against Longniddry 918 while Keith Reilly and Paul Ross bagged an eagle – at the fourth – and four birdies.
"We've now got a hard game against a good BBT team but we are determined to come out on top this year, especially as we've constantly been slagged off by Cramond since they won a bronze medal two years ago," said Reilly.
Cramond are still in the hunt as as well and tonight they take on a strong-looking Stewart's Melville side who won't be fazed if they come up against Carrickvale in the semi-finals on Saturday. Kevin Cattanach said: "We gave them a good game in the quarter-finals two years ago and wouldn't mind meeting them again, but it's about taking each round as it comes and that means we have to try and beat Cramond first."
Carrickvale's next test in their bid to make it four wins in a row is against Riccarton, who seem determined to prove to Andy Laurence, a member of their winning side five years ago, that he was wrong to pin his colours to Harrison's mast this time around. Dougie Waugh is filling his shoes and has gelled pretty well so far with former Lothians Championship runner-up Grant McCall at the back while Stephen Marshall and Ian Gourlay are certainly tried and tested up front.
Playing off plus two, Stuart Smith, the four-time Lothians champion, is still a class act on his day, as he showed when almost holing his tee shot at the 16th in helping Temple beat Heriot's on Tuesday night.
Tonight Smith and his team-mates, Keith Millar, Gus Santana and John Shepherd, take on RICS and the Duddingston boys will secure a third successive medal if they can win that one.
Not that it will be easy. Brian Tait knows the Braids like the back of his hands, while Gary Middlemiss, who came into the RICS side in the second round due to Mike Armstrong running in the Edinburgh Marathon, appears to be relishing his opportunity.
As always at this time of the year, the Braids is a stunning location for the Capital's top tournament, which is being staged in association with Edinburgh Leisure.
The course is in excellent condition and a couple of tee changes for the event have proved big talking points among the players.
A new tee at the tenth has stretched it to just over 600 yards, while on Tuesday a tee used in the past was once again in operation at the second, meaning it was playing at just under 200 yards.
"It's great to have some additions," noted Carrickvale's Allyn Dick, "though my slight reservation about the new tee at the tenth is that it takes the risk and reward element away with the second shot."
Weather conditions will determine if the tee at the second is the longer option tonight and it certainly proved troublesome on Tuesday.
"I had to hit a rescue club there but it certainly didn't rescue as because we ran up a double-bogey," said Silverknowes' Graham Robertson, who'd have been hitting just a 9-iron off the forward tee.
According to BBT's Olly McCrone, it's a tee that should only be used in the later rounds, saying: "Playing off the back tee favours the better players as there are probably only a few in the field who can hit the green off it."
Tonight's ties:
 4.30pm BBT v Silverknowes
4.50pm RICS v Temple
5.10pm Carrickvale v Riccarton
5.30pm Cramond v Stewart's Melville.



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