Big guns on collision course in Champ of Champions

Keith Nicholson could meet Simon Mackenzie, below, in the second round
Keith Nicholson could meet Simon Mackenzie, below, in the second round
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TWO of the Lothians’ top amateur golfers over the past 20 years could be set for a head-on collision in this season’s Champion of Champions.

Simon Mackenzie, the former Scottish champion from West Linton, will meet Haddington’s five-times winner Keith Nicholson in the second round if they both reach that stage.

Both face away matches in the first round – Mackenzie up against Colinton Mains title-holder Callum Russell and Nicholson facing a short trip to Gifford to take on Blair Shearer.

Having come out of the hat in the hat in the bottom match, Nicholson is going to have to do it the hard way in his bid to repeat title triumphs stretching back to 1993.

Among those in the opposite half of the draw – and also with a bye into the second round – is Graham Davidson, the defending champion from Winterfield. He’ll have home advantage against Lewis Bain from Turnhouse but will know that he can’t take the 2011 Lothians Boys’ champion lightly.

Others in the top half of the draw include former Scotland internationalist Stephen Easingwood and John Yuille, the 2004 champion representing Scottish Universities but flying the Royal Burgess flag on this occasion.

Also trying to reclaim the title is Steven Armstrong, the victor out of Turnhouse in 2009 but representing BBT this time around. He starts out with an away test against City Chambers champion Steve Bickmore.

This year’s semi-finals and final are being staged on August 10 and 12 at North Berwick – a month after it stages Scottish Open qualifying.