Golf: Young guns lighting up Summer League

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YOUNG guns Murray Naismith and Callum Cochrane have an Edinburgh Summer League title triumph in their sights after helping Dalmahoy reach the semi-finals.

Both teenagers won their matches as the Marriott men made home advantage count to beat Duddingston 6.5-2.5 in their last-eight clash.

It has earned Dalmahoy a tie against West Linton, while 
defending champions Royal Burgess will face Kingsknowe in the other semi-final.

Dalmahoy last lifted the title in 2007, since when the Pollock (Scotrans) Ltd-sponsored event has been completely dominated by Royal Burgess.

But, helped by the likes of rising stars Naismith and 
Cochrane, the Kirknewton club have emerged this season as 
serious contenders for the 
coveted crown.

Backing the youngsters up are some experienced campaigners, including newly-crowned 
Lothians Champion of Champions Chris Brown, David Marshall and Dougie Hunter.

Marshall’s win against Dalmahoy was his sixth on the trot and ninth in total this season, putting him in the running to be the league’s MVP along with John Fraser (Royal Burgess), Stephen Smith (West Linton) and Allyn Dick (Kingsknowe).

Smith kept himself in contention for that prize after helping West Linton, who also had home advantage, beat Liberton 8-1.

“I think Liberton struggled for a team but, on the whole, our players played well with only three games going past the 15th hole,” said West Linton team manager Simon 
Mackenzie. Unfortunately, he’s definitely lost Fraser Thain, who has headed back to college in the United States, for the 
semi-final while Kenny Mail and 
Scott Walker could be missing too.

Kingsknowe sealed the last semi-final spot after beating Bruntsfield Links, though that was a lot closer than a 7.5-1.5 scoreline suggests.

At opposite ends of the order, Steve McCulloch and Marc Cairnie both recorded 7 and 6 victories for the home side.

But the seven matches in between all went beyond the 16th as Bruntsfield put up a brave fight on the night. None more so than Keith MacKenzie, who dented Dick’s MVP hopes as he handed the East of Scotland champion a rare defeat.

But Kingsknowe, who had Scotland skipper Scott Knowles in their ranks, managed to overcome that, to the delight of team manager Bill Buchan.

“This was a fantastic performance against an on-form side,” he said. Royal Burgess stayed on course for a fifth title on the trot as they won 7-2 against 
Silverknowes at the Barnton.

The first three matches all went the way of the home side, as looked the case in match four, where John Yuille was two up after 11 on Tom Caldwell.

However, the Silverknowes man produced a sparkling run of five consecutive birdies to turn the game around and won 2 and 1.

Caldwell, though, was the only visitor who could muster a victory as Royal Burgess showed they have no desire to let anyone loosen their grip on the title.

James Ross produced six birdies to defeat Graham Robertson 6 and 5, while Stephen Buckley bagged five birdies of his own in registering a 3 and 2 victory over Keith Reilly.

This sealed the match for the champions, who, for good measure, added further points through an Ian Taylor victory and two halves from Varun Varadharajan and Brian Tait, against Paul Heggie and Craig Scott respectively.

“Our guys produced some great golf and deserved their win,” said Burgess team manager Richard Hughes. “But things only get tougher from here as any of the remaining teams are capable of winning the title this year.”

Results: Royal Burgess 7, Silverknowes 2: G Pollock bt E Paterson one hole; G Archibald bt I Randall 3 and 2; J Fraser bt C Milligan 3 and 2; J Yuille lost to T Caldwell 2 and 1; J Ross bt G Robertson 6 and 5; S Buckley bt K Reilly 3 and 2; V Varadharajan halved with P Heggie; I Taylor bt I Doig 4 and 3; B Tait halved with C Scott. West Linton 8, Liberton 1: S Mackenzie bt I Neilson 6 and 5; K Mail bt J Hunter 7 and 6; S Smith bt J Herriot 4 and 3; F Thain bt C Munro 4 and 3; S Walter lost to W Kerr one hole; J McWilliams bt R Jack 4 and 3; C Taylor bt R Munro 2 and 1; N Barr bt G Scott 2 and 1; S Walker bt D Kerr 6 and 4. Kingsknowe 7.5, Bruntsfield Links 1.5: S McCulloch bt K Cattanach 7 and 6; M Foley bt A Soulsby 3 and 2; A Dick lost to K MacKenzie 2 and 1; G Fraser bt J Liddel 2 and 1; A Rowe bt A Anderson one hole; D Munro bt S McLaren 3 and 2; A Mackay bt D Livingstone 2 and 1; M Cairnie bt D Miller 7 and 6; S Knowles halved with M Kernaghan.