Former world junior champion Kenny Walker making Dispatch Trophy debut at 55

Former world junior champion Kenny Walker is excited to be playing in the Dispatch Trophy for the first time at the age of 55 - and has sights on marking the occasion with a gold medal.

Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 12:17 pm
Former world junior champion Kenny Walker is in the Royal Burgess team through the last eight in the Dispatch Trophy at The Braids. Picture: National World
Former world junior champion Kenny Walker is in the Royal Burgess team through the last eight in the Dispatch Trophy at The Braids. Picture: National World

The reinstated amateur made his debut in the historic event at The Braids earlier in the week as a substitute for Royal Burgess, helping the Barnton club progress to Thursday’s quarter-finals.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the Dispatch and it’s great that has finally happened,” said Walker, who won the Doug Sanders World Junior Championship in Aberdeen in 1984.

Royal Burgess reached the final in 2019, the last time the event was held due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now face Heriot’s Quad in their bid to ultimately go one better in the 121st staging.

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“I was sad that I couldn’t play in our opening match on Sunday, but I was caddying at The Renaissance Club,” added Walker, who joined forces with Gregor Drummond, Graeme Boyd and Duncan Johnston to record a hard-earned win over Tantallon B on Tuesday.

“The last couple of times having been in pro-ams, I’ve not played up here for years and the greens are so hard due to the fact they have lots of breaks on them.”

In addition to a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals, Johnston will also be playing for bragging rights in the match with Heriot’s Quad.

“I’ll be playing against my dad,” he said, with Scott set to replace Innes Christie, who is unavailable, alongside Dave Campbell in the top Heriot’s Quad pairing.

The pair have already locked horns once before, with Duncan coming out on top on that occasion in the final of the Prestonfield club championship in 2016.

Campbell picked up a bronze medal the last time he was in the Heriot’s Quad quartet, saying of that with a smile: “It’s our social team!”

Five-time winners Silverknowes face Hailes A in the last eight, with Graeme Robertson admitting he felt the pressure of playing in the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored event as he holed a crucial putt against Harrison in the third round.

“It’s 22 years now that I’ve been paying in this event, but I still get nervous,” he said. “Having said that, I wouldn’t have it any other way as it shows what it means to the teams competing up here.”

Mortonhall are three wins away from creating history as the first team to win the event three times in a row. As was the case in triumphs in 2018 and 2019, Graeme Clark is proving a useful team member.

He replaced Bill Buchan for Tuesday’s game against Kilgour Wealth Management and got the job done up front with Alex Main as the tried-and-tested pairing of Ian Dickson and Duncan Hamilton did likewise at the rear.

“I always try my best and I have a great partner in Alex,” said Clark. “Steve Scott is missing this year due to the fact he’s just had a first child and also moved house, but we have a deep squad.”

Edinburgh Leisure face Murrayfield in the remaining quarter-final, with Stuart Macrae aiming to use his experience of The Braids from being a member of Edinburgh Thistle for seven years to keep Murrayfield on track for a first trophy triumph.

Thursday tee times

4.30pm Hailes B v Mortonhall

4.50pm Edinburgh Leisure v Murrayfield

5.10pm Silverknowes v Hailes A

5.30pm Heriot’s Quad v Royal Burgess