ALLYN DICK became the latest victim of the Stuart Cup curse as the leading qualifier lost to teenager Sean Walter in the first round of the Lothians Championship at Dalmahoy last night.
Dick holed everthing in sight to win Saturday’s qualifying event by eight shots but saw his blade turn cold at the Kirknewton venue.
By contrast, Walter, an 18-year-old from Penicuik whose home club is West Linton, knocked in a number of key putts as he beat the Kingsknowe man at the 20th.
For instance, he holed from ten feet at the 12th to get back to all square then, after falling behind again, rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt to win the 18th.
Walter, who lifted the junior titles at both West Linton and Dunbar last season, got down in two putts from 50 feet at the 19th to stay alive before knocking in a ten-footer at the next for a match-winning birdie.
“To beat such a great as Allyn is something special,” admitted Walter, who works in the pro shop at West Linton.
Magnanimous in defeat, Dick said: “Sean played fantastic and also showed great composure out there.”
Walter now faces Musselburgh’s Benn McLeod, who clinched his last-green win over Sean McGarvey (Glencorse) in dramatic fashion.
One up after winning the 17th with a birdie-2, McLeod, a greenkeeper at Gullane, tugged his drive and had to go 150 yards back up the 16th fairway after taking a penalty drop.
He flew the green with his fourth but then chipped in, getting a fortuitous bounce off a sprinkler head before trickling down the slope into the hole.
“That was unexpected,” beamed McLeod, who was playing the course for the first time after walking round it the previous night.
One man who knows it well, Dalmahoy sales manager Colin Swanston, eased into the second round with a thumping win over Uphall clubmate Sandy Calder.
Swanston is bidding to bridge a 13-year gap, having lifted the title in 1999, when he beat Glencorse’s David Inglis in the final at Monktonhall.
“I’d really like to do well here and if I can keep my long game going then I might just have a chance,” said the 31-yar-old, who was a couple under for 12 holes.
His next opponent is Craigielaw’s Ross Noon, who had dad Jim, the runner-up back in 1989, on the bag as he recovered from being one down at the turn to beat another Uphall man, Joe McManus.
The last time Noon Snr undertook caddying duties on the East Course was for Sam Torrance in the Scottish Seniors Open.
Silverknowes star Graham Robertson sealed his win over a gutsy Stuart Imrie from Ratho Park with a majestic second from around 230 yards to 12 feet at the last.
“That was easily my best shot of the night,” said Robertson as he set up a last-16 clash with Harburn’s Craig Deerness, who beat Dalmahoy 14-year-old Murray Naysmith.
“He’s a good player and certainly showed no signs of nerves when he gave himself a great eagle chance at the first,” said 30-year-old Deerness of his younger opponent.
Longniddry 20-year-old Michael Bacigalupo and George Thomson, a 41-year-old from the Glen, were the other winners.
Results: G Robertson (Silverknowes) bt S Imrie (Ratho Park) two holes; C Deerness (Harburn) bt M Naysmith (Dalmahoy) 3 and 2; G Thomson (Glen) bt J Gallacher (Pumpherston) 2 and 1; M Bacigalupo (Longniddry) bt L McCathie (Turnhouse) 6 and 5; S Walter (West Linton) bt A Dick (Kingsknowe) at 20th; B McLeod (Musselburgh) bt S McGarvey (West Linton) one hole; R Noon (Craigielaw) bt J McManus (Uphall) 3 and 2; C Swanston (Uphall) bt S Calder (Uphall) 7 and 6.