Rob Paterson sparkles at Lothians Championship

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Rob Paterson’s golfing fairytale continued after he followed up his recent hole-in-one and course record by making a winning debut in the Lothians Championship at Longniddry.

On April 18 this year – the day he turned 18 – the George Watson’s sixth-year pupil had a hole-in-one at the first at home club Kilspindie.

He’s the new amateur course-record holder there as well now after an eight-under 61 on Sunday trimmed a shot off the mark that was jointly held by Lloyd Saltman and Bob Humble.

“I wasn’t really thinking that I had a chance to beat the old record until I’d hit my tee shot at the last,” he said of a flawless effort that contained birdies at the second, eighth, ninth, 12th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th.

It came the day after Paterson had been pipped as the leading qualifier for the Lothians Championship on a card play-off by Musselburgh’s Calum Burgess.

Winning the Stuart Cup has become something of a curse in the LGA’s flagship event – and so it proved once again on the opening night.

But, while Burgess was being bundled out by Bathgate’s Scott McCandless, Paterson progressed with a hard-earned last-green success over Deer Park’s Alan Crawford.

“I lost the first two holes to pars and should have lost the third as well,” reported Paterson, who was still one down with three to play before winning both the 16th and 18th.

He now meets Silverknowes star Graeme Robertson, who suffered that Stuart Cup curse himself a few years back but progressed comfortably enough on this occasion at the expense of Cameron Hay (Bruntsfield Links).

McCandless, who reached the fifth round in last month’s Scottish Boys, has now toppled the leading qualifier two years running after the 18-year-old also beat Broomieknowe’s Jamie McIntosh at the same stage 12 months ago.

“I quite like match-play as I think it suits my game,” said the 17-year-old, who reached the fifth round in last month’s Scottish Boys at West Kilbride and was off and running against Burgess after rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt at the first.

His next opponent is Turnhouse stalwart Steven Armstrong, who recovered from a topped tee shot at the first to squeeze past Uphall’s Andy Stevenson.

Other first-night winners were Ross Brydon (Bruntsfield Links), Jordyn Rhind (Kingsfield), Nathan Free (Musselburgh Old) and Benn McLeod (Musselburgh).

Winner of the Lothians Order of Merit for the last two years, McLeod won at the 20th against John Yuille (Royal Burgess) after being one down playing the last.

Results: S Armstrong (Turnhouse) beat A Stevenson (Uphall) one hole; S McCandless (Bathgate) beat C Burgess (Musselburgh) 2 and 1; R Paterson (Kilspindie) beat A Crawford (Deer Park) one hole; G Robertson (Silverknowes) beat C Hay (Bruntsfield Links) 3 and 2; R Brydon (Bruntsfield Links) beat M Stein (Craigielaw) 4 and 3; B McLeod (Musselburgh) bt J Yuille (Royal Burgess) at 20th; J Rhind (Kingsfield) bt G Davidson (Winterfield) 4 and 2; N Free (Musselburgh Old) bt R Noon (Craigielaw) 5 and 4