Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Walker Cup selection James Byrne in action for a 67

By COLIN FARQUHARSON                                         
Welshman Gareth Wright (West Linton) and West Lothian's Alan Reid - an appropriate pair of surnames to be top of the class -  shared the opening-day honours at the end of a low-scoring first round of the £25,000 Aberdeen Asset Management Northern Open championship at Meldrum House Hotel golf course, Oldmeldrum in rural Aberdeenshire.
Reid was the first to post a five-under-par 65 over a 6,700yd course but sub-par scores kept flooding in and it was always on the cards that one of his rivals would come along and say "Snap" before the day was out.
And Wright, pictured above right, was "the man," getting to five under par with an eagle 2 at the 17th and parring the short last for a 65.
With 33 players getting under the par of 70, and only the leading 40 and ties to qualifying at the end of Thursday's second round for Friday's 36-hole finale, the cut could be very close to par.
Reid must like the Meldrum House course, designed by Oldmeldrum man Graeme Webster - he finished joint fifth last year and had had a 65 in what what proved to be the last round when the scheduled third and fourth rounds were washed away.
Reid has not been as active as many Tartan Tour pros this season and has won less than £1,000 but it didn't show. He birdied the second, short third, fourth, long fifth, long 11th and, like Wright, had an eagle 2 at the driveable par-4 17th. His only blemishes in halves of 32 and 33 were a shot dropped at the short sixth and another at the long 16th.
Reid and Wright had a one-shot advantage over Edinburgh tour pro Mark Kerr, who had six birdies and two bogeys, and Dornoch-based Greg McBain (Gamola Golf) who had more birdies than anyone else - eight in all - but was dragged down by four bogeys.
Late in the day there were joined on the 66 mark by the top amateur of the round, Stirling student Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie), winner of the South-east District championship at Musselburgh at the weekend, and William Colquhoun (Dundonald Links).
Robertson birdied the 15th, 17th and 18th to show ahead of the other star amateurs in the field.
Scottish amateur champion for the second time in three years, Hazlehead's Walker Cup reserve David Law - joint fifth in this tournament last year - struck the first blow in the championship at an unearthly hour after an early breakfast and he set the early clubhouse target of three-under-ar 67 with an eagle 2 at the 17th capping his morning.
Law, by the way, will not be in the Balgownie galleries at the Walker Cup match. David is a member of the Paul Lawrie Foundation Team and Paul has pulled a few strings to secure for the Hazlehead man an invite to play in next week's European Tour event, the KLM Open.
Also on 67 are amateur rivals, James Byrne (Banchory), who is in the GB and I team to play the Americans at Balgownie next month, and Fife amateur James White (Lundin), a winner twice on the SGU 72-hole Order of Merit circuit this season.
Byrne would have been sharing the lead but for a out-of-bounds double bogey 6 at the 14th. But he did finish on a high - birdie 4, birdie 3, birdie 2. Now, if there had been a 19th hole, he might have got a hole in one at that rate!
The standard of scoring by the amateurs was impressive and late in the day, local man Callum Trahan posted a 67 and Kris Nicol, Fraserburgh's one-time contender for a Walker Cup place, had a 68.
Scottish amateur championship beaten finalist Daniel Kay (Dunbar) and Scotland international Philip McLean (Peterhead) both had 69s.
The Bookless Cup is the traditional prize for the leading amateur but Byrne, Law and Co are quality amateurs and they might have their eyes on the Northern Open title!
Defending champion Greig Hutcheon from Banchory could feel satisfied with a 68 for starters although he bogeyed the last, which undid a little the good work he had with a four-under-par run from the fifth to the 16th with birdies at the fifth, seventh, eighth and 16th.


Par 70. Yardage 6,700
65 Alan Reid (West Lothian), Gareth Wright (West Linton).
66 Mark Kerr (unatt), Greg McBain (Gamola Golf), Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie) (am), William Colquhoun (Dundonald Links).
67 David Law (Hazlehead) (am), James White (Lundin) (am), Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills), James Byrne (Banchory) (am), Scott Henderson (Kings Links), David Patrick (Elie Sports Club), Graeme Brown (Montrose Links), Neil Fenwick (Dunbar), Callum Trahan (Meldrum House) (am).
68 Scott Crichton (Aberdour) (am), Alan Lockhart (Ladybank), Greig Hutcheon (Banchory), Chris Kelly (Cawder), Ross Dixon (Renaissance Club), Andrew Crerar (Panmure), Alastair Mackenzie (Renaissance Club), Craig Matheson (Falkirk Tryst), Steven Taylor (Bothwell Castle), Jason McCreadie (Buchanan Castle), David Orr (East Renfrewshire), Kris Nicol (Fraserburgh) (am).
69 Stephen Gray (Hayston), Lee Harper (Archerfield Links), Jonathan Lomas (Unatt), James McGhee (Duddingston), Daniel Kay (Dunbar) (am), Philip McLean (Peterhead) (am).
70 Peter Smith (Deeside), Graham Fox (Rowallan Castle), Ross Kellett (Colville Park) (am), Mark King (Kingsfield), Kenneth Hutton (Downfield).
71 Andrew Cooper (Newmachar), Christopher Currie (Caldwell), Steven Duncan (Carnoustie), Paul Shields (Kirkhill) (am), Alistair Brown (Whitecraigs), Brian Mason (Callaway Golf), Ian Taylor (Drumpellier), Colin Gillies (Kingsfield), Mark Loftus (Adam Hunter Golf).


72 Scott Herald (Adam Hunter Golf), James Erskine (Portpatrick Dunskey), Scott Grieve (Turnhouse), Nick Robson (Meldrum House) (am), Stuart Williamson (West Kilbride).
73 Malcolm Isaacs (Nairn Dunbar), Joe Hopwood (Carnegie), Sandy Aird jun(McDonald Ellon), Fraser McKenna (Balmore ) (am), Ross Cameron (McDonald Ellon), Robert Arnott (Bishopbriggs), Lindsay Mann (Carnoustie), Paul Wardell (Whitekirk), David Broadfoot (Dumfries and Co), Christopher Robinson (Dumfries and Galloway).
74 Colin Brodie (Meldrum House) (am), Grant Smith (Gleneagles), James McKinnon (Irvine), Nathan Keast (Renaissance Club), Ian Graham (Crow Wood), Graham Forbes (Gourock), James Smallwood (Fereneze).
75 Sean Thompson (Renaissance Club), Sean O'Donnell (Balbirnie Park), Michele Thomson (McDonald Ellon), Campbell Elliott (Haggs Castle), Craig Ronald (Carluke).
76 Terry Mathieson (Murcar Links), Clarke Lutton (Qatar), Terence Burgoyne (Gotastroma), Craig Gordon (Edinburgh GC), Stuart Morrison (Tain), Jordan Ramanauskas (Gullane), Stephen McAllister (Renaissance Club), Greg Paterson (St Andrews New) (am), Alan Tait (Marriott Dalmahoy), Jonathan Porteous (Craigielaw).
77 Ryan Buckley (Craigielaw), Joseph McBrearty (Haggs Castle).
78 Paul Brookes (Pitreavie), David Thomson (Carnegie), Ewan Davie (Dunblane New).
79 Jonas Hedberg (Royal Aberdeen), Fraser Malcolm (North Berwick), Neil Colquhoun (Merchants of Edinburgh), Greg Paxton (Ralston), Anthony Mackrell (Playsport Golf), Stewart Savage (Dalmuir).
80 Lewis Burnett (Adam Hunter Golf), Chris McCalman (Turnhouse).
81 Paul Wytrazek (Burntisland).
82 Duncan Bain (Aberdour), Duncan Williamson (Kirkhill), Nicola Melvile (Nicola Melville Golf).
84 Keil Beveridge (Inchmarlo), Jamie Carner (unatt).
(am) denotes amateur player.


07.50 ALAN REID, Jonathan Lomas, Scott Herald.
08.10 Andrew Crerar, GRAEME ROBERTSON (am), GARETH WRIGHT.
09.15 Stephen McAllister, WILLIAM COLQUHOUN, Nick Robson (am).
10.35 DAVID LAW, Peter Smith, Malcolm Isaacs.
11.25 MARK KERR, Christopher Currie, Terence Burgoyne.
11.55 GREIG HUTCHEON, Graham Fox, JAMES BYRNE (am)
12.05 Robert Arnott, Steven Duncan, GREG McBAIN.
12.20 Keil Beveridge, SCOTT HENDERSON, Ross Kellett (am).

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