Rory Smith signs off from amateur ranks in style

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Rory Smith capped what is set to be his final season as an amateur by being crowned as Lothians Champion of Champions.

He claimed the title at Broomieknowe while representing both his home club, Dalmahoy, and his alma mater, George Heriot’s, in the season-long knock-out event.

Smith, a semi-finalist in 2017, went the full distance this time around after producing two impressive displays as the tournament came to a conclusion at the Bonnyrigg venue.

He opened with four birdies and never looked back against Kingsknowe’s Alan Mackay, winning that tie 5&4 to set up a title showdown with Craig Davidson from Craigielaw.

Davidson, who’d lost to Winterfield’s Graeme Davidson in the final 12 months earlier at Longniddry, beat Gullane’s Ross Thomson 2&1 in the other semi-final to set up his chance to go one better.

It was Davidson who made the flying start in the final, winning the first two holes and looking as though he could extend that lead at the third.

“Craig holed from about 20 feet for birdie then I followed him in from around eight feet for the half,” reported Smith. “To stay two down almost felt like a switch in momentum.”

That was apparent by the fact he’d restored parity at the turn before then moving up a gear as he finish 3-3-3 to secure a two-hole victory.

“The win is definitely one of the many highs I’ve had this year in my last year as an amateur,” he said. “It was amazing to come out on top this year, especially against a great opponent in Craig, after coming pretty close in last year’s event.”

So, what is next for Smith, who also won the Dispatch Trophy with George Heriot’s last year in the company of John Archibald, Dave Campbell and Willem Kerr.

“My plan is to play go to the EuroPro Qualifying School at the start of next year,” he said. “I want to try start from the bottom and work my way up that way. I’m hoping to one day take my game Stateside.

“This season has been really good. I won my fourth club championship at Dalmahoy, reached the last 32 in the Scottish Amateur and have had three top-10 finishes in Scottish stroke-play events, with two of them being top fives at Leven and Craigmillar. So, overall, I’m absolutely delighted with my season so far.”

Concluded simultaneously at the same venue, Harburn’s Alan Thomson claimed victory in the handicap equivalent.

Helped by seven pars in the opening nine holes, the 10-handicapper beat Linlithgow’s Ian Lambie (Linlithgow) 4&3 in the final.

In the semi-finals, Thomson was a 3&2 winner over Colin McRoberts (Dundas Parks) while Lambie beat Baberton’s Drew Messenger 5&4.