Five-time champs Royal Burgess can remain dominant

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THE remarkable run of success Royal Burgess are enjoying in the Edinburgh Summer League has been built on commitment and togetherness, according to their team manager.

It will be six of the best if the Barnton boys can win the event again next year after retaining their vice-like grip on the title by beating Dalmahoy in a closely-fought final at Broomieknowe last weekend.

“To win an event that is so keenly contested five years in a row is beyond belief,” admitted Richard Hughes as he savoured his team’s latest success.

The feat is even more remarkable when you consider that, prior to the winning run being sparked in 2008, Royal Burgess had never before been crowned as Edinburgh champions.

“I’d say one of the secrets of our recent success is that there is a great commitment from everyone involved with the team,” added Hughes.

“That’s something you simply can’t underestimate and I know that the club appreciates that.

“Another reason I think we’ve managed to do well is that those involved are a tight bunch of guys and that has helped create a tremendous team spirit.

“We play a lot of golf together in bounce games and also socialise outside golf, which I think is important as well.”

Hughes also has real strength in depth, as was illustrated when they were able to overcome the absence in Sunday’s final of both John Fraser and Fraser McCluskey to hang on to the title once again in the Pollock (Scotrans) Ltd-sponsored event.

In addition to Fraser and McCluskey, the likes of Ian Taylor, John Yuille, Grant Pollock, Brian Tait and Sandy Gray have bags of experience which, coupled with the appetite they all have for team golf, makes them tough nuts to crack.

So, too, is former Scottish Boys’ champion Stephen Buckley and, though Gordon Archibald lost his match against Dalmahoy, he has also made significant contributions to the cause over the last five years.

As, more recently, has 20-year-old Varun Varadharajan, who showed real character to clinch the play-off win that saw his team triumph in Bonnyrigg after he’d lost the last three holes.

While there’s nothing to suggest the Burgess can’t keep their winning run going next summer, there’s no doubt that Dalmahoy will be dangerous yet again.

Robert Carson, who was unable to play in the final himself, did a great job in his first season as the Marriott men’s team manager and has some exciting young talent at his disposal.

Murray Naysmith, for instance, is still only 15, while two other teenagers, Callum Cochrane and Josh Rooney, also acquitted themselves well in their first full season in the team. Cochrane missed the final due to being in Ireland for this week’s Faldo Series final but Rooney chalked up a splendid win over Yuille.

“I shot one-under on the East Course last Wednesday to secure my place in the team and I was delighted to both play well and also held my nerve,” said the 17-year-old.

Zander high

ZANDER CULVERWELL of Dunbar was the highest-placed Lothians player in the final standings in this season’s Scottish Order of Merit.

The 2006 Lothians champion was tenth with 217.25 points, just under 70 points less than the winner, Dollar’s Scott

Borrowman. Baberton’s Paul Ferrier finished 12th, seven spots higher than Neil Henderson from the Glen while East Open champion Allyn Dick (Kingsknowe) was 25th.

Callum chance

DALMAHOY’S Callum Cochrane

heads the field for next weekend’s Lothians Boys Champion of Champions tournament at Ravelston.

Victory in the Caermount Golf Club-sponsored event would see Cochrane complete a notable double after claiming the Lothians Boys’ Championship at the Braids earlier in the

season.

His rivals on Sunday week will include defending champion Stuart Blair (Royal Musselburgh), Liberton’s Scott Finlay and host-club-hope Stuart McLaren, last year’s Lothians Boys’ Order of Merit winner.

Ladies’ day

BABERTON’S Karen Marshall and Louise Fraser (Kingsknowe) have both chalked up end-of-season successes on the Midlothian Women’s scene.

Marshall claimed the Champion of Champions crown after beating Dalmahoy’s Kim Horne by 4 and 3 in the final at Royal Burgess.

She then had to settle for second best as Fraser shot a splendid 72 to collect the top scratch spoils in the Autumn Meeting at Murrayfield.

Benn free

MUSSELBURGH’S Benn McLeod can’t be caught in this season’s Lothians Order of Merit title race heading into the final event at Duddingston on September 30.

The Gullane greenkeeper won the rescheduled Silverknowes Open to put himself out of long-time leader Paul Drake’s reach in the Damm Environmental Ltd-sponsored event.

Leading positions: 1 B McLeod

(Musselburgh) 460pts; 2 P Drake (Pumpherston) 308; 3 C Wood (North Berwick) 221; 4 I Wilson (Dalmahoy) 198; 5 J Rhind (Uphall) 146; 6 D Low (Duddingston) 143; 7 G Corrigan (Greenburn) 109; 8 W Main (North Berwick), D Hunter (Dalmahoy), A Dick (Kingsknowe) 100.