Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys Championship: Day Three Afternoon Report
The much-fancied players in the field for the Paul Lawrie Scottish Boys Championship made strong progress today, with notable names booking their place in the last-32 at Murcar Links, only for Anthony Blaney to exit in the final game of the day.
The Liberton ace, 18, looked set to make a strong bid for the championship crown after he shared top spot in the opening Scottish Hydro Junior Tour event of the season.
But the SGU National Boys squad player, who has a +0.9 handicap, met his match in Jordan Shaw (Kingussie), who claimed a fine victory at the 18th.
"It's my third time in the Scottish Boys and this is my best-ever win, beating a Scotland squad player," said Shaw, a two-handicapper.
David Wilson, bidding to become the first player to defend the prestigious Under-18 event since Scott Henry in 2005, eased into the fourth round with two comfortable wins.
After seeing off Gregor Cannon, Wilson racked up his biggest victory in the championship this week after defeating David Cleland from Hamilton 5&4.
The Troon Welbeck player, who staged a phenomenal comeback at Dunbar 12 months ago to defeat Liam Johnston in the final, is pleased at his progress. “So far so good,” the 17-year-old said. “I’m pretty confident and I’ve got good feelings after last year.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match but I was four up after nine and in control. I feel my game is a lot more consistent now, all-round really.”
Wilson was joined by a number of other National Boys’ Squad players in tomorrow’s last-32, with Ben Kinsley, the reigning Scottish Under-16 champion and a semi-finalist last year, looking good in his hard-fought 2&1 win over Craig Oram (Nairn Dunbar).
It was a repeat success for Kinsley, from St Andrews, after he defeated Oram by the same margin of victory at the quarter-final stage 12 months ago.
“It was a really difficult game and I had to play well. He definitely wanted revenge and came out really strong,” the 16-year-old admitted. “It was a tough game and I knew I had to play well.”
It was a tense affair, with the match nip and tuck through 15 holes. But Oram’s three-putt at the 16th gave Kinsley the edge and he sealed success with a glorious approach to nine feet at the 17th.
Fellow St Andrews player Ewan Scott also progressed, closing out a one-hole success over Andrew Loch (Pumphertson).
Meanwhile, Cawder’s Jamie Savage continued his bid for glory, again drawing on all his battling qualities to defeat Peebles’ Daniel Flannery.
Savage, who looked out when he was four down with eight to play against Andrew Thomson yesterday before a remarkable rescue mission, this time went to the 20th to edge past Flannery.
Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil joined Savage in round four, again impressing in a 4&3 win over fellow Boys’ Squad team-mate Euan Walker (Kilmarnock Barassie).
It looked a tricky tie on paper for Neil, the former Scottish and English Under-14 champion, but he is making strong progress. “I feel I’m in good form, holing putts and have momentum,” Bradley said.
Others to stay on the winning trail included left-hander Robert MacIntyre from the Glencruitten club in Oban.
Bidding to become the first ‘leftie’ to win the title since Callendar’s Ben Collier in 1990, MacIntyre looks a dark horse for success after a thumping 6&4 triumph over Connor Syme (Dumfries & County).
He said: “I’m hitting fairways and greens which is the key. I also feel in good form after helping Scotland win the Quads event near Belfast at the weekend.”
Performance of the day, though, goes to Lochwinnoch’s Paul Reilly, who equalled the biggest win of the week with an 8&7 victory over Ross Millar (Whitekirk) to reach the fourth round.