Stuart Thorburn has chalked up one of his most notable successes since swapping the beautiful game for the Royal & Ancient one.
It came as the former Meadowbank Thistle, Livingston and Whitehill Welfare player was among the winners at Musselburgh as the first round of the Lothians Championship was completed a day later than scheduled due to bad weather on Tuesday.
Thorburn, who hung up his boots 13 years ago at the age of 34 after returning to his first club Haddington, beat Silverknowes star Keith Reilly on the last green.
He went one up when Reilly, the Lothians captain and beaten finalist in this event in 2000, was unable to get up and down from a fiendish spot on the left side of the green at the par-3 16th.
Thorburn, who has won the Newbattle club championship for the last two years and five in total, then clinched victory by making a par at the last.
“I was at Livingston when they played Celtic in the Scottish Cup at Hampden when that was their home ground for a spell,” recalled the right-sided midfielder.
Thorburn now faces Iain Melville after the Glencorse man squeezed through against Broomieknowe’s Colin Renton, who wasted no time over a short putt at the last that would have forced extra-time only to miss it.
Two of Renton’s clubmates suffered mixed fortunes – Sean Marc winning his match convincingly but Jamie McIntosh going down to West Linton’s Scott Walker.
Despite still being troubled by a back injury he sustained in a car accident eight weeks ago, Marc has improved on last year’s effort after accounting for Harrison’s Alan Stewart.
McIntosh conjured up a great up and down at the 16th only to see Walker emulate the feat from a greenside bunker after he’d gained the upper hand by winning three holes in a row on the back nine – two with birdies.
Following the success of Callum Burgess on Monday night, Lewis Bain doubled Musselburgh’s representation in the last 16 as he made home advantage count against Craig Davidson from Craigielaw. “I fancy my chances,” admitted the 19-year-old, who won the Lothians Boys’ Championship last year.
Don’t be surprised to see that title claimed in the next season or two by Longniddry’s David Rudd. The 15-year-old underlined his potential with a superb 3&2 win over the vastly more experienced John Yuille from Royal Burgess.
Rudd, who became part of the SGU Academy at the start of this year, had his coach, Cawder pro Stuart Savage, caddying for him and admitted he’d had a “big impact”.
The biggest win of the night was recorded by Dunbar’s Stephen Simants – a 6&5 victory over Keith Watt from Turnhouse. “I was bogey-free and never really gave him a chance,” reported Simants, a former semi-finalist but absent from the event for two years due to his own wedding then his sister’s.
In the remaining tie, Liberton’s Daniel Eardley celebrated his success in making it to the match-play for the first time with a win over Kenny Mail from West Linton. “Thank God I had a short game on the back nine,” said the 20-year-old, who reckoned he’d got up down around a dozen times in the match.
Results: Stephen Simants (Dunbar) bt Keith Watt (Turnhouse) 6&5; Kenny Mail (West Linton) lost to Daniel Eardley (Liberton) 3&2; Alan Stewart (Harrison) lost to Sean Marc (Broomieknowe) 5&3; John Yuille (Royal Burgess) lost to David Rudd (Longniddry) 3&2; Colin Renton (Broomieknowe) lost to Iain Melville (Glencorse) one hole; Keith Reilly (Silverknowes) lost to Stuart Thorburn (Newbattle) one hole; Craig Davidson (Craigielaw) lost to Lewis Bain (Musselburgh) 4&2; Scott Walker (West Linton) bt Jamie McIntosh (Broomieknowe) 3&2.