Lothians players strike out for Scottish Boys’ Championship

More than 40 Lothians players are bidding for the famous trophy
More than 40 Lothians players are bidding for the famous trophy
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Murray Naysmith heads the Lothians contingent hoping to follow in the spikemarks of both Lee Harper and Grant Forrest at West Kilbride tomorrow.

Harper won the 1999 Scottish Boys’ Championship at the Ayrshire course to bring the title back to Musselburgh, his home club. Four years ago, Forrest also found it to be a happy hunting ground as the Craigielaw player triumphed there, too, underlining the potential that has since helped him become Scotland’s top-ranked amateur.

Is there a chance that West Kilbride will produce a hat-trick of Lothians champions?

With British Boys’ champion Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden) and Glencruitten’s Robert MacIntyre, winner of the Scottish Youths and Scottish Boys’ Stroke-Play titles last year, both in the field, it’s a tall order.

But, if anyone from in around the Capital might have a chance of stopping the top two seeds meeting in next Saturday’s final, then it is surely Naysmith.

The Marriott Dalmahoy player was in the same Scotland team as Ferguson and MacIntyre for last month’s under-18s quadrangular event in Italy.

He is highly rated by both Lothians coaching convenor Paul Gibson and Alan Murdoch, the director of golf at his school, Merchiston Castle.

If he can negotiate those often difficult early rounds and start to build up a head of steam, then Naysmith could well be in the medal shake-up.

“There are 40-odd Lothians players in the draw and it will be interesting to see how they all get on,” said Gibson. “Murray Naysmith will definitely be among the favourites, while there are a couple of others that might fly under the radar.

“Longniddry’s Connor Farrell, for example, has shown amazing progress over the last six months and might give a few a fright. So, too, could Scott McCandless from Bathgate and Musselburgh’s Connor Good.”

Turnhouse is represented by all but one of the players who secured third place for the Capital club in the recent Junior Team Home Nations Golf Championship in Spain.

“We’ve seven in the field,” reported Turnhouse stalwart Allan Shaw. “Craig Docherty has drawn Michael Lawrie (former Open champion Paul’s youngest son) so he’ll be in the spotlight again.”

The action starts at West Kilbride at 6.45am tomorrow and continues until Saturday’s 36-hole final.