Lee Morgan claims Lothians Championship crown

Lee Morgan is jubilant after winning both the Stuart Cup and the Evening News Trophy in the Lothians Championship. Pic: TSPL

Lee Morgan is jubilant after winning both the Stuart Cup and the Evening News Trophy in the Lothians Championship. Pic: TSPL

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Dunbar’s Lee Morgan has become the first player in more than 20 years to claim both the Stuart Cup and the Evening News Trophy in the Lothians Championship

He earned the first of those trophies as leading qualifier and was an equally worthy winner of the other one after also coming out on top in the match-play phase at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian.

Even more so when it was the defending champion, Broomieknowe’s Sean Marc, who he beat in the 18-hole title showdown to become the first leading qualifier since Duddingston’s Stuart Smith in 1993 to win both phases.

The final was a battle between two Broomieknowe members, with Morgan having recently become the new champion at the Bonnyrigg club, but he entered this Sharkey Group-sponsored event out of Dunbar.

Morgan, whose successes this season also includes lifting the Whitburgh Cup as the Newbattle Open winner, opened strongly in the final with two birdies in the first three holes before running out an 8&6 victor in challenging conditions.

It was a different story for Morgan in the semi-finals, where he found himself there down early on to West Lothian’s Barrie Lewis before turning the tide by winning seven holes in a row, including three straight birdies from the ninth, to run out a 3&1 winner.

Marc set up his chance to become a back-to-back winner by digging deep to beat Kingsfield’s Allyn Dick, the 2010 winner, on the last green.

“The new format, which has seen the championship moved back from May to July and with the qualifying and match play over the one course, seems, from initial feedback from the players, to have been a big success,” said Lothians secretary Neil Park.

“The entry was 34 per cent over subscribed and produced our best field for many years with the highest handicapped player off 2.5.

“A major factor has been the opportunity to play the event, for the first time, on the magnificent Tom Doak-designed Renaissance Club course with its excellent all-round facilities.”