Graeme Robertson, the 2014 beaten finalist, hopes he’s achieved his No 1 target this season after reaching the last 16 in the Scottish Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen.
“Retaining my place in the Scottish side for the Home Internationals has been my main goal this year,” admitted the 28-year-old Glenbervie man after a 4&3 success over Carnoustie’s Will Porter in the fourth round in the Granite City this morning.
The former GB&I squad member wasn’t included among the nine selections announced last week for next month’s event at Nairn, meaning he needs to secure one of the two remaining two places up for grabs.
“As I’m not in the team yet, I felt a wee bit edgey in the first round, but I came here knowing I was playing well enough and it’s just a case of trying to let it happen,” added Robertson
“It would be great to play in the Home Internationals again, especially as this would make it six yeears in a row for me.”
The former Stirling University star was the title favourite when he lost to Meldrum House man Chris Robb in the final at Downfield two years ago.
Since then, Robertson has become a part-time golfer after becoming a father and starting a job asd a sales assistant in the building trade.
“I probably go to the course after work to practice two times a week then have a game at the weekend,” he said. “But, after playing in the first round in tournaments, my game feels back to normal.”
His fifth-round opponent at Balgownie Links is the defending champion Robert MacIntyre after the left-hander from Glencruitten progressed with a 4&2 win over Charleton’s Andrew Davidson.
Top seed Connor Syme (Drumoig) also eased into the last 16, as did another member of the Scottish side that retained the European Team title earlier this month, Peebles player Craig Howie.
But it was the end of the road for fellow seeds Sandy Scott (Nairn) and Barry Hume (Haggs Castle) as they lost to Malcolm Pennycott and Mark Halliday respectively.
Pennycott, a 26-year-old who hails from Arran but now lives in Edinburgh, was thrilled with his 2&1 success over rising star Scott.
“To be fair to Sandy, he wasn’t quite at his best today, but this is definitely the biggest scalp of my career,” admitted Pennycott, who plays his golf at Royal Burgess, where Scott, ironically, stormed to victory in the Scottish Boys Stroke-Play Championship last year.
Halliday, a 43-year-old who has been a member at Royal Aberdeen for 15 years and is the current club champion, beat former champion Hume 3&2 in a high-quality encounter.
“We both under par and it’s a good one to win as Barry is a great player,” said Halliday after joining his 18-year-old clubmate, Fintan McKenna, in the last 16.
McKenna, who was on the reserve list until he got into the event as a replacement for 2012 winner Grant Forrest, won the 14th, 15th and 16th as he beat yet another host club hope, Steven Buchan, by one hole.
Fintan McKenna (Royal Aberdeen) bt Steve Buchan (Royal Aberdeen) one hole
Jeff Wright (Forres) bt Marc Watt (Inverallochy) 5&4
Andrew Burgess (Nairn) bt Chris Gaittens (Fortrose & Rosemarkie) 4&2
Mark Halliday (Royal Aberdeen) bt Barry Hume (Haggs Castle) 3&2
Connor Syme (Drumoig) bt Gordon Munro (Newmachar) 5&4
Stuart Easton (Irvine) bt Kyle Godsman (Moray) 4&2
Euan McIntosh (Turnhouse) bt Craig Stephen (Aboyne) one hole
Craig Howie (Peebles) bt Jack Harling (Banchory) one hole
Alasdair McDougall (Elderslie) bt Calum Hill (Tantallon) 2&1
Andrew Gibson (Blairgowrie) bt Fraer Carr (Crail Golfing Society) one hole
Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie) bt Will Porter (Carnoustie) 4&2
Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten) bt Andrew Davidson (Charleton) 4&2
Malcolm Pennycott (Royal Burgess) bt Sandy Scott (Nairn) 2&1
William Walker (Belton Park) bt Jamie Stewart (Old Ranfurly) 3&1
George DUncan (Windyhill) bt Craig Morrison (Haggs Castle) 4&3
Ben Murray (Portlethen) bt Rob Paterson (Kilspindie) 2&1