Golf: Five go mad at Murcar in title bid

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THE hopes of five Lothians players were still alive heading into the fourth round, but the journey was already over for the Capital’s leading contender in the Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys’ Championship.

Still standing at Murcar Links were Lewis Bain (Turnhouse), Callum Cochrane (Marriott Dalmahoy), Alexander Wilson (The Renaissance), Fraser Christie (Craigmillar Park) and Adam Loch (Pumpherston).

But Liberton’s Anthony Blaney, one of the eight seeds, missed out on a place in the last 32 after he paid the price for a poor putting display in losing on the last green to Kingussie’s Jordan Shaw late in the day.

“That’s the worst I’ve probably putted since I was 12,” declared the 18-year-old, who was particularly annoyed about missing a six-footer at the 17th to square the match. It effectively cost Blaney, playing in the event for the final time, his chance to play Bain in the last of the 16 fourth-round matches today.

Bain, last year’s Lothians Boys’ champion, recorded comfortable wins in both his matches on the third day’s play outside Aberdeen.

“I’m hitting it well,” insisted the 18-year-old. “I’m now working with Gary Nicol and everything is starting to come together.”

Cochrane, the player Bain beat in the final at The Braids to lift the Lothians title, is also benefitting from work he did in the winter, although in his case it was with Colin Brooks.

“It’s a bonus to have made it this far, to be honest, but my short game in particular has been very good and hopefully I can maintain that,” said the 16-year-old. His father, Gordon, works in St Lucia, but has made the journey home specifically for this event and it’s been a well worthwhile trip so far.

Wilson also has an overseas connection, the 17-year-old having lived in Spain for the past eight years, though his parents also have an apartment in Edinburgh.

A pupil at Loretto School in Musselburgh, he is a member at The Renaissance, having been a familiar face at both Gullane and Archerfield Links as well in recent years.

“I’m coached by David Armitage, the head pro at The Renaissance,” said Wilson after a third round resounding win of the week.

“I play at both Valderrama and Sotograde when I’m over in Spain and also got a good preparation for here by playing at Royal Portrush in a team event with Loretto.”

He has already banished the painful memories of a disappointing second-round defeat at Dunbar 12 months ago.

“I was two up at the turn against Craig Howie, but lost after having a bit of a nightmare on the back nine,” he recalled.

Christie is enjoying a dream debut in the event after being disappointed that he didn’t get off the reserve list for the East Lothian event a year ago.

The 16-year-old recovered from being three down with five to play to win on the last against Royal Musselburgh’s Stuart Blair in the third round.

And he followed that up with a 5 and 3 afternoon success over Cathcart Castle’s Martin McKenna to book his spot in the last 32.

“It has been a great week so far,” admitted Christie, the junior club champion at Craigmillar Park, where his dad, Innes, has been a stalwart.

Loch won his last 64 encounter on the home green to set up a showdown with seeded Blairgowrie player Bradley Neill.

But the West Lothian players’ hopes of facing his brother, Andrew, in the quarter-finals evaporated after the tables were turned on him at the 18th by another seed, Ewan Scott of St Andrews.

Others to bow out in the third round included Craigielaw’s Willem Kerr and another Lewis Bain, the Musselburgh version losing after he three-putted the last.