Murray Naysmith and Joe Bryce would appear to be the most likely candidates to provide a Lothians winner in the Scottish Boys’ Championship, which tees off at Dunbar on Monday.
For the past two years, the under-18s event has gone to form – Bradley Neil winning at Monifieth in 2013 then Ewen Ferguson coming out on top at West Kilbride 12 months later.
Based on his eye-catching performances during the Scotland squad’s recent trip to South Africa, Cawder’s Calum Fyfe is the red-hot favourite this time.
But both Naysmith and Bryce also have reason to be heading into the event feeling quietly confident they can still be standing in next Saturday’s 36-hole title showdown on the East Lothian coast.
Marriott Dalmahoy player Naysmith, the 2013 Paul Lawrie Junior Jug winner, was also in South Africa with the SGU, having also been part of a squad that visited Dubai at the end of last year.
“Being in South Africa was a great experience and getting some competitive rounds in early in the year has helped me prepare for the Scottish Boys,” said the Balerno High School pupil.
“Dubai also gave me a chance to work on the aspects of my game that I felt needed a polish. The ten days of intense training on the course and in the gym allowed me to achieve a lot, with the help of the SGU support team.”
Naysmith is up against Newmachar’s Cameron McArthur in the first round at Dunbar, where the last Lothians success was recorded by Baberton’s Paul Ferrier in 2007.
“Last season was my best yet,” he added. “I had some great finishes in big events, which boosted my confidence throughout the year. My main goals for 2015 are to win a boys’ national title and to lower my WAGR to below 500.”
Like Naysmith and Fyfe, Bryce was in the Scottish side for last year’s Boys’ Home Internationals at Conwy in North Wales. That capped a meteoric rise for the Bathgate youngster, though his selection didn’t come as a surprise to Scotland’s Coach of the Year, Alan McCloskey.
The man who works with both Stephen Gallacher and Marc Warren has been impressed with Bryce, who launches his title challenge against Eastwood’s Ibrahim Hussain, at Lothians coaching sessions.