Scott and Howie to Contest Scottish Boys Championship Final at Murcar Links
Ewan Scott from St Andrews and Peebles’ Craig Howie will tomorrow seek to write their names in the history books when they contest the 36-hole final of the Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys Championship at Murcar Links.
Not since Lachlan Carver in 1960 has a St Andrews player emerged triumphant in the national Under-18 tournament, while no Peebles boy has ever walked away with the trophy.
With Lawrie’s Foundation sponsoring the event for the first time, the 1999 Open champion and north-east native will be on hand to pass the silverware to the victor tomorrow evening after the 71st staging of the Scottish Boys.
Both Scott and Howie are seeking to follow in the spike marks of the likes of Andrew Coltart, the 1987 winner at Dunbar, and Steven O’Hara, the 1998 champion, who claimed the title at Murcar Links.
Scott, the SGU National Boys’ Squad player, and Howie – himself a former Boys’ Squad member – both secured 2&1 wins this afternoon to seal their place in Saturday’s showpiece.
Scott, who defeated national team-mate Bradley Neil at the quarter-final stage, edged past Alan Waugh (Cowglen) after the Glasgow player’s superb run to the semi-finals.
Howie, meanwhile, saw off the brave challenge of Connar Cook (Caird Park) by the same margin on a cold, yet dry day.
Scott, the third lowest handicapper in the field off +2, made his move for semi-final success around the turn against Waugh.
The match was all square after eight, but Scott won the ninth with a par and then the 11th after Waugh’s concession to go two up. A birdie at the short 12th took him three clear and in control.
Waugh replied with a victory at the 15th but Scott saw the match out.
The 16-year-old, coached by Steve North at the St Andrews Links Golf Academy, said: “I made life harder for myself by missing a few putts coming in. I didn’t feel nervous, I just hit poor putts.
“It could have been a bigger margin of victory but it’s a win.”
Scott looked down and out this morning when Neil held the advantage on the 18th, with their match all square. But the Madras College pupil achieved an up and down from left of the green after holing from 10 feet while Neil three-putted.
“That was probably my most important putt of the week, as soon as I hit it I knew it was in,” said Scott.
Turning to the final, he added: “I played with Craig recently in the opening event of the Scottish Hydro Junior Tour and he is a good player. We’re good friends and it should be a great match.”
Howie and Scott have never met competitively head-to-head before, with both players’ families set to come north to witness the final duel.
Howie feels he is starting to click into top gear as he bids to achieve a Peebles double after Ailsa Bain won the Scottish Girls’ title in 2009.
He was four up after nine against Cook and in command, before the Dundee player launched a late rally, halving the deficit with four to play.
The 17-year-old, a +0.7 handicap coached by Colin Brooks, said: “I’ve not played as well as I can in some rounds this week, but it all clicked this afternoon.
“My tee shots were better, meaning I was in better positions to make birdies.
“I was confident coming into this week but I maybe didn’t expect this. Over the winter my putting has come on a lot and that has helped me. It’s definitely a big achievement to reach the final.”
After a marathon week of seven matches at Murcar Links - staging the event for the third time after O’Hara’s triumph in ’98 and Scott Henry in 2005 – a great final contest is expected tomorrow. Tee-off times: 8.30am and 1pm.