Wednesday, July 21, 2010

     British amateur championship beaten finalist James Byrne has never got past the first round of the Allied Surveyors Scottish amateur championship in three attempts but fancies his chance of putting that record straight at Gullane next week. Image by Rob Eyton-Jones. 

James Byrne top seed and favourite to make it fourth time lucky

Banchory’s James Byrne has his sights set on going one better than his runners-up finish at Muirfield last month when the Allied Surveyors Scottish Amateur Championship takes place at neighbouring Gullane next week (26 – 31 July).
The 21-year-old, whose conqueror in the Amateur Championship Jin Jeong went on to claim the Silver Medal at last week’s Open Championship finishing ahead of Tiger Woods in the process, has never made it past the opening round of the SGU’s flagship event in three attempts but is aiming to improve on that record in East Lothian.
“I’ve not got a great record in the Scottish Amateur Championship but I won’t let that affect me. Finishing second in The Amateur Championship was a great achievement so I’ll go into next week with great confidence. I’ve got the same caddy for Gullane as I had at Muirfield and if I can putt as well and play the same way I’ll give myself a great chance.”
“Looking back, it’s been a good summer and I managed to get within one shot of making The Open Championship. Seeing what Jin Jeong achieved at St Andrews shows what can be done and if he can perform like that then I don’t think I’m too far from competing at that level.” he added.
One of Byrne’s main challengers will be fellow North East star David Law, who made history last year at Royal Troon by becoming the first golfer to win the national men’s and boys’ match play titles in the same season. The 19-year-old has been plagued by injury problems in recent months, but claimed another national title this year when he helped the North East to victory in the Moneygate Scottish Area Team Championship.
Law’s team-mate from that side Philip McLean is the current SGU Order of Merit leader and with a win at the Edward Trophy and runners-up finish in the St Andrews Links, the Peterhead golfer confident of capturing his first national championship at Gullane.
The East Lothian venue proved a happy hunting ground for Fifer George Murray when it last hosted the event back in 2004 and a strong challenge is expected to come from across the Firth of Forth again this year. Lundin’s James White, fresh from a win at the Sutherland Challice, has enjoyed a fine season and lies second in the Order of Merit, while tucked in just behind him in third and fourth spots are Leven’s Brian Soutar and St Andrews’ Peter Latimer who has returned from a college scholarship in the United States and is showing great form on the domestic circuit. Latimer reached the quarter-finals at Royal Troon last year.
The Gullane No 1 course has been lengthened this year and includes a superb new eighth hole, while several other tees have been extended.
This will be the fourth occasion Gullane has hosted the Championship, with Charlie Green (1983) and Craig Everett (1990) the two other previous champions alongside Murray, who notched his maiden professional win on the European Challenge Tour last month.
Ian Thomson, Managing Director of Allied Surveyors Scotland who sponsor the event for the sixth successive year, is looking forward to the Championship:
“The Allied Surveyors Scottish Amateur Championship seems to grow in stature year on year and with the field representing 152 different clubs across Scotland, there is great interest locally with members eager to see how players at their clubs are faring.”
“We’ve witnessed some fantastic championships since our involvement in 2005, not least last year’s historic achievement from David Law and Allied Surveyors Scotland are very proud to support the country’s leading amateur golfers in their development.”
The action starts at 0645 on Monday with scoring updates, results and news featured on throughout the week. Entrance is free for spectators and the 36-hole final takes place on Saturday, with tee-times of 0830 and 1300.
*The seedings for the Championship are:
1 James Byrne (Banchroy)
2 Ross Kellett (Colville Park)
3 Michael Stewart (Troon Welbeck)
4 Kris Nicol (Fraserburgh)
5 James White (Lundin)
6. Philip McLean (Peterhead)
7. David Law (Hazlehead)
8. Greg Paterson (St Andrews New).

*East Lothian club Craigielaw, a near neighbour of Gullane, has the most players represented in the Championship with a total of eight, while players of Scottish origin are travelling from as far as Australia, New Zealand and the United States.



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