Six-year Royal reign is over as West Linton reach Summer final

West Linton captain Scott Walker. Pic: Kenny Smith
West Linton captain Scott Walker. Pic: Kenny Smith
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A new name will be engraved on the Edinburgh Summer League trophy this season after West Linton and Bruntsfield Links made it to next month’s final.

West Linton ended Royal Burgess’s six-year winning run in the Pollock (Scotrans) Ltd-sponsored event with a 5-4 victory at Glencorse.

That was also the score as Bruntsfield Links came out on top against Broomieknowe in another keenly-fought contest at the Merchants.

“Absolutely fantastic,” declared West Linton team manager Scott Walker of his side’s victory, which earned them a place in the title showdown for the first time. “To knock out Royal Burgess is a brilliant achievement for us.”

West Linton had looked as though they could be strong title contenders from the beginning of the season and, on this occasion, they managed to overcome being weakened as the event entered the knock-out phase.

Kenny Mail and Scott McKay were both available again for the semi-final and proved their worth by earning halves against James Ross and Stuart Cochrane respectively.

Coupled with wins from Simon Mackenzie, Stephen Smith, Nick Barr and Walker, those efforts got the job done for West Linton.

“The match was very competitive but played in a great spirit by both teams,” added Walker. “Royal Burgess were obviously very disappointed to see their run ended but, like all great champions, they were very gracious in defeat. It was a very good example of what golf is all about.”

The match was tied at 4-4 with one game left on the course. And, with Ross having won a sudden-death play-off, Burgess only needed half in it to go through. Alas, Sandy Gray could not get up and down from the back of the 18th and lost the decider to Barr.

“I would like to congratulate West Linton and wish them the best of luck in the final,” said Burgess team manager Richard Hughes.

“I would also like to thank my players for their commitment not just this season, but over the last seven years.

“We have set a record of six successive championships that will stand for a very long time and I am so proud to have been part of it.”

In another match played in great spirit, former Lothians champion Kevin Hastings drew first blood for Broomieknowe with a win over Kevin Cattanach that was set up by a couple of early birdies. Alan Anderson, another ex-Lothians champion, hit back for Bruntsfield with a solid putting display as well as a Phil Mickelson-style up and down for birdie at 15th to remain one up against Alan Sim.

In a birdie battle between two young guns, Stuart McLaren had 2s at the seventh, 12th and 13th and was two up with four to play on Jamie McIntosh.

But the Broomieknowe man birdied both the 15th and the last, where his drive cannoned off the wall behind the green and ended up on the putting surface.

Colin Renton edged Broomieknowe back in front as he beat John Liddel before Bruntsfield delivered a telling thrust in the middle of the order.

Helped by an eagle-2 at the 15th, Derek Miller was never down in winning, Ally Ritchie came back from two down after eight to also chalk up a point while David Wallace birdied the 16th and 17th to go two up against Niall Webster.

The latter secured the half point Bruntsfield needed to win the overall match and very sportingly offered his opponent a half, which he duly accepted.

“We are delighted to be in the final against a very strong West Linton team, who like ourselves have regularly qualified for the knockout stages of the competition but not managed to win the trophy,” said winning team manager Douglas Livingstone.

“So there will be a new name on the trophy this year but I would like to congratulate Richard Hughes and the Royal Burgess squad for all their success over the past six years.”

The final will take place at Montkonhall on Sunday, September 14.

Results: Bruntsfield Links 5, Broomieknowe 4: K Cattanach lost to K Hastings 5&4; A Anderson bt A Sim 2&1; S McLaren halved with J McIntosh; J Liddel lost to C Renton 3&2; K Mackenzie bt F Devlin 4&2; D Miller bt K Smith 2&1; A Ritchie bt C Bouwer 3&2; D Wallace halved with N Webster; M Kernaghan lost to S Reid 3&2.

Royal Burgess 4, West Linton 5: S Buckley bt P Neil 6&5; J Ross halved with K Mail; S Cochrane halved with S Mackay; J Lockie lost to S Mackenzie; V Varadharajan lost to S Smith 3&2; J Fraser bt A Stott 6&5; J Yuille bt S O’Brien 3&1; S Gray lost to N Barr two holes; B Tait lost to S Walker 6&5.