Stuart McLaren: I’d happily miss Hearts final for shot at Dispatch glory

Stuart McLaren reckons becoming a gold medallist in the Edinburgh Evening News Dispatch Trophy would top seeing his beloved Hearts claim Scottish Cup winners’ medals on the same day.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 6:30 am
Stuart McLaren is playing some of the best golf of his life right now. Pic: TSPL

McLaren has a ticket for Saturday’s final against Celtic at Hampden Park in Glasgow and would love to be there to see if Craig Levein’s team can upset the odds.

But he is ready to sacrifice the trip along the M8 if he can help Stewart’s Melville FP win two more matches to get into the Dispatch Trophy final at the Braids at lunchtime on Saturday.

“I think winning this will trump going to Glasgow,” admitted McLaren after he’d joined forces with David Donaldson, Alan Anderson and Ally Ritchie to set up a last-eight clash with defending champions Mortonhall in the golfclubs4cash-sponsored event.

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McLaren is playing some of the best golf of his life, having topped the Lothians Order of Merit last season, while Anderson is a two-time Lothians champion.

They’re out for revenge against Mortonhall after losing to the same opponents in the second round 12 months ago, but that will be easier said than done.

Mortonhall, after all, remain unbeaten in the event and a quartet comprising of Ian Dickson, Duncan Hamilton, Steve Scott and Alex Main have their sights set on back-to-back trophy triumphs.

Scott Finlay, a member of the Edinburgh Leisure team through to the fourth round, also has a ticket for the Scottish Cup final while team-mate Jamie Wright is facing a different dilemma.

“It’s the second round of the Musselburgh club championship on Saturday and I’m only a couple of shots off the lead,” he reported after helping set up a Thursday tie with Dirleton Castle.

Also playing for Edinburgh Leisure is Matty Craigie, who is doing his dad Kenny, a Dispatch Trophy fanatic, proud. “He lives for this event,” declared Craigie jnr.

Dirleton Castle are on course to emulate Mortonhall by making a winning debut in the event with a team comprising of Murray Saunders, Greg Houlston, Stuart Menzies and Benn McLeod.

“It was our club secretary Iain McLean who wanted to enter a team after seeing other East Lothian clubs get involved in recent years,” said Houlston.

Dirleton Castle was founded in 1854 and is a club within Gullane. Membership is limited to 100 members plus staff of Gullane, with plus-two man McLeod qualifying as a greenkeeper at the Scottish Open venue.

It’s a different-looking quarter-final line-up from 12 months ago, with Munro Heating joining both Edinburgh Thistle and Lochend in enjoying an unexpected but welcome run in this year’s event.

“We’ve been in the last eight once before around 2010, but we are delighted to be back,” admitted Clark Munro, the team’s driving force and linking up well with young Fraser Martin.

Quarter-final ties: 4.30pm Edinburgh Leisure v Dirleton Castle; 4.50pm Mortonhall v Stewart’s Melville FP’ 5.10pm Turnhouse v Munro Heating; 5.30pm Lochend v Royal Burgess.