Golf: Summer’s here and Royal can bask in the sunshine

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IT’S taken just two matches for Edinburgh Summer League champions Royal Burgess to show it won’t be easy to stop them completing a fifth title in the Pollock (Scotrans) Ltd event.

A trip to Turnhouse may have been a potential banana skin for the Barnton boys but they conjured up a terrific performance at their close neighbours to win 5½-2½.

The foundations were laid when Ian Taylor, Stephen Buckley and Gordon Archibald won the top three matches for the visitors while further points followed from John Fraser and Brian Tait.

Senior star Taylor was given the task of taking on former Lothians champion Steven Armstrong and rose to the challenge, bagging five birdies in seeing off the home No. 1.

“Even this early in the season I felt this was a big match as Turnhouse are a very strong side so any points gained at their course are a real bonus,” said Royal Burgess team manager Richard Hughes.

“I was thrilled for Ian Taylor as he is still recovering from an eye operation at the end of last year and this just shows what a real competitor he is.”

Duddingston have started the same section with two away wins, the latest coming up at Torphin Hill, where some of the visitors were playing for the first time. Mike Armstrong, Duncan Low, David Miller, Neil Hamilton and Chris Reid, a last-minute stand-in, delivered the decisive points for Duddingston.

“After a mix up with the eighth member of the team, I had to step in, fortunately having my clubs in the boot and managed to win,” said Reid.

Following two defeats in that group on the road – at Turnhouse and Royal Burgess – Musselburgh made home advantage count with a big win against Merchants.

Calum Burgess and Adam George halved the fourth at Monktonhall in eagle-3s with the former carding five birdies as well as he won 2 and 1.

“We now look forward to entertaining Royal Burgess and Duddingston in the next two weeks,” said Musselburgh team manager Alex Chisholm.

In Section A, Silverknowes opened their campaign with a big win against Royal Musselburgh, while Glencorse also made the most of playing on home turf to thump Dalmahoy.

“A good start to the season and we’re relieved that it’s finally under way,” said Stevie Adamson of a 7½-½ success by Silverknowes.

At Glencorse, a 7-1 scoreline didn’t do Dalmahoy justice as four of the matches went to the last hole.

Justin Lamb produced the comeback of the week, having been four down through ten before holing a 15-foot birdie putt on the last to beat David Marshall.

Eric Walker, a Glencorse newcomer, chalked up his second win of the campaign while Andrew Wight secured a point in his customary fashion with a vintage up and down on 17 when it looked as though he’d be lucky to make a bogey.

“As always in the group matches, home wins are vital and we are delighted to have come away with such a good result against a very good Dalmahoy team,” said Glencorse team manager Alastair Shanks.

In Section B, the team that appears to have laid down a signficant early marker are Bruntsfield Links.

Sandwiched between home wins over West Linton and Swanston New, they’ve also picked up an away victory at Ratho Park.

In that one, Derek Miller and Andy Soulsby both recovered from being four down after 11 to win their matches on the last.

Miller birdied both the 15th and 16th before his opponent, Neil Sneddon, then three-putted the 17th. Soulsby, meanwhile, holed from 12-feet for a match-winning birdie at the 18th.

Having already made a good start at home, Liberton wasted no time following that up with a win on the road at Craigmillar Park.

Young gun Anthony Blaney put the first point on the board for the visitors, finishing birdie-birdie-eagle-par to beat Scott Smith.

Gary Scott, Ross Munro and Scott Finlay also won for Liberton while Clark Munro secured a vital half against Steven Jackson.

Beaten at Liberton first time out, Kingsknowe bounced back to record a big home win against Prestonfield.

Steve McCulloch set the tone as he covered the first ten holes in five-under to be six up on his way to beating Arran McHardy, who did well to take the game as far as the 16th green.

“A good performance in general and we are delighted with the victory, though I still think there’s more to come,” said Kingsknowe team boss Bill Buchan.

Counterpart Alan McEwan added: “We lost 8-0 here last year and I put the guys on a pint for every point we got for our end of season party. It was a safe bet but Alistair Dun’s win has dented my pocket!”

Newbattle look set for a good campaign in the same section after they followed up a big win at Prestonfield by repeating the feat at home to Lothianburn.