Allyn Dick believes he’s already won the prize that matters most before the match-play phase of the Lothians Championship starts tonight at Musselburgh.
Dick, 36, lifted the Stuart Cup as leading qualifier for the second time in four years after a two-shot victory at Broomieknowe and Glencorse.
It was his first victory since switching from Kingsknowe to Kingsfield and he’ll set out against Deer Park’s Keith Wilson in a bid to repeat a 2010 victory in the knock-out event.
But Dick insisted: “I would much rather win the stroke-play than the match-play every time. You beat everyone in the field in the stroke-play whereas the match-play can come down to the luck of the draw.
“Just look at some of the people who’ve done well in the amateur game. Some have good match-play records, but have no stroke-play credibility and that’s where it counts.”
Dick followed a morning 70 at Broomieknowe with a 68 at Glencorse to finish a shot ahead of West Lothian’s Barrie Lewis (65-74) and West Linton’s Sean Walter (70-69).
“Glencorse is probably the toughest course you are likely to play in terms of its length,” declared the winner. “With seven par-3s over 200 yards, it is a proper challenge, particularly when it’s windy and the temperature is low.
“So I’m delighted to have won the Stuart Cup for a second time and now I’m looking forward to this week’s match-play test at Monktonhall, a course I always enjoying playing.”
Like 2004 winner Steven Armstrong, Dick believes the LGA’s flagship event should swap slots on the fixture list with the Team Championship, held in July.
“By doing that, it wouldn’t clash with the Lytham Trophy and the winner could earn automatic selection for the Area Team Championship, which is being moved to later in the season,” he said.
But Dick heaped praise on this season’s two qualifying venues, saying: “Credit to both Broomieknowe and Glencorse as the courses were in great condition for this time of the year.”
Duddingston’s David Miller, the defending match-play champion, qualified comfortably on 143 (67-76) and faces Stephen Smith – one of five West Linton players to progress – in another of tonight’s eight first-round encounters.
They also feature Turnhouse’s Lewis Bain, who could meet his namesake from Musselburgh in Saturday’s final as they are in opposite halves of the draw.
Today: 4.45pm Barrie Lewis (West Lothian) v Calum Burgess (Musselburgh); 4.52pm David Miller (Duddingston) v Stephen Smith (West Linton); 5.00pm Ross Thomson (Gullane) v Lewis Bain (Turnhouse); 5.07pm Alan Sim (Broomieknowe) v Derek Thomson (Glencorse); 5.15pm Keith Wilson (Deer Park) v Allyn Dick (Kingsfield); (Deer Park) v Ricky Moffat (Turnhouse); 5.30pm Jordyn Rhind (Kingsfield) v Sean McGarvey (West Linton); 5.37pm Jack Rogan (Turnhouse) v Sean Walter (West Linton).
Tomorrow: 4.45pm Stehen Simants (Dunbar) v Keith Watt (Turnhouse); 4.52pm Kenny Mail (West Linton) v Daniel Eardley (Liberton); 5.00pm Alan Stewart (Harrison) v Sean Marc (Broomieknowe); 5.07pm John Yuille (Royal Burgess) v David Rudd (Longniddry); 5.15pm Colin Renton (Broomieknowe) v Iain Melville (Glencorse); 5.22pm Keith Reilly (Silverknowes) v Stuart Thorburn (Newbattle); 5.30pm Craig Davidson (Craigielaw) v Lewis Bain (Musselburgh); 5.37pm Scott Walker (West Linton) v Jamie McIntosh (Broomieknowe).