WHITEKIRK may have staged a wedding reception on Saturday, but it was also the scene of some significant separations in this year’s Lothians Championship.
Host club member David Ewan, for instance, missed out on a countback for a place in this week’s match-play phase after finishing bogey-bogey-bogey there.
Also absent from the 32 qualifiers for Longniddry were Pumpherston’s Mark Timmins, the 2000 winner, and Silverknowes stars Keith Reilly and Tam Caldwell.
They all crashed to afternoon 81s at Whitekirk, with Caldwell joining both Ewan and Thomas Beattie, a member of the winning Carrickvale side in last year’s Dispatch Trophy, in losing out in the card play-off involving those on 151. Only a handful of players broke 70 either there or at the Glen – the other venue used for a two-round qualifying event that attracted a final field of 114.
Pride of place went to Musselburgh’s Calum Burgess and Rob Paterson of Kilpsindie as they posted matching aggregates of 140.
Burgess started with a bogey at the Glen but then bagged five birdies in a 68, one more than Paterson came in with in the final group of the day at the North Berwick course.
It was their scores at Whitekirk, though, that decided the Stuart Cup, which went to Burgess by virtue of his 72 to a 73 carded by Paterson.
Paterson’s effort at the Glen was matched by Ross Brydon, but the Bruntsfield Links youngster was another who found Whitekirk a much tougher proposition.
Despite taking 80 there, though, he still qualified comfortably, as did club-mate and defending champion Alan Anderson on 144, which included a birdie to sign off in a 71 at the Glen.
Others to progress safely included 2004 winner Steven Armstrong (Turnhouse), double Lothians Order of Merit champion Benn McLeod (Musselburgh) and 2008 Champion of Champions Graham Davidson (Winterfield).
Armstrong, the beaten finalist when Longniddry last staged the match-play stage seven years ago, came out of the open draw in the same half as Burgess, Paterson, McLeod and Davidson. Burgess faces rising Bathgate star Scott McCandless in a tasty tie tonight, when Paterson is up against Deer Park’s Alan Crawford.
McLeod, meanwhile, is unlikely to get it all his own way against the stuffy John Yuille (Royal Burgess) while Davidson can expect a tough test, too, against Kingsfield’s Jordyn Rhind.
In the bottom half, which sees another eight ties played tomorrow night, Anderson takes on Jamie McIntosh, last year’s Stuart Cup winner from Broomieknowe.
Another interesting tie there sees Duddingston’s David Miller, who has been knocking at the door in this event for a good few years now, take on Richard Gill. Now playing his golf at Tantallon, Gill was a Craigmilllar Park member when he showed his liking for match-play golf by reaching the final of the Scottish Boys’ Championship in 2001.
In terms of numbers, Bruntsfield Links have the best chance of landing the title on Saturday as Anderson and Brydon were joined by both Cameron Hay and Stuart McLaren. Turnhouse, who had eight representatives – the biggest – in the qualifying, still have three standing, as do Broomieknowe.
4.45pm: A Stevenson (Uphall) v S Armstrong (Turnhouse)
4.52pm: C Burgess (Musselburgh) v S McCandless (Bathgate)
5.00pm: A Crawford (Deer Park) v R Paterson (Kilspindie)
5.07pm: G Robertson (Silverknowes) v C Hay (Bruntsfield Links)
5.15pm: R Brydon (Bruntsfield Links) v M Stein (Craigielaw)
5.22pm: B McLeod (Musselburgh) v J Yuille (Royal Burgess)
5.30pm: G Davidson (Winterfield) v J Rhind (Kingsfield)
5.37pm: R Noon (Craigielaw) v N Free (Musselburgh Old)
4.45pm: S Walter (West Linton) v S McLaren (Bruntsfield Links)
4.52pm: S McClory (Bathgate) v S Scott (Mortonhall)
5.00pm: R Gill (Tantallon) v D Miller (Duddingston)
5.07pm: A Anderson (Bruntsfield Links) v J McIntosh (Broomieknowe)
5.15pm: J McVey (Turnhouse) v E Shannly (Linlithgow)
5.22pm: J Whitelaw (Craigielaw) v S Marc (Broomieknowe)
5.30pm: N Webster (Broomieknowe) v C Radcliffe (Royal Musselburgh)
5.37pm: N Baird (Braids United) v A Young (Turnhouse)