LAST-HOLE birdies helped Ross Noon and Lee Morgan book quarter-final berths in the Lothians Championship at Duddingston, where home-club hope David Miller is also through to the last eight after a sparking seven-birdie salvo.
Noon, the 2011 Lothians Order of Merit winner from Craigielaw, was staring defeat in the face after Baberton’s Alastair Macphail chipped in for the second time in the round at the 16th to go two up.
But, after being thrown a lifeline when his opponent three-putted the long 17th, Noon then rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt from off the green at the last before winning with a 15-footer for another birdie at the 19th.
“It’s a little beauty,” said Noon of his putter afterwards. “I was starting to worry that it might not be my night when Ally chipped in for the second time, but you hope your time will come and it did at the last.
“I was delighted to then take my second life. It was a great game and Ally will feel a bit unlucky as he didn’t make a bogey.”
Morgan also staged a late recovery after the Dunbar player found himself one down with three to play against Bathgate teenager Scott McCandless.
“I’d chucked the 15th at Scott by three-putting there, but he then returned the favour at the 16th to allow me to get back to all square,” reported Morgan.
The 17th was then halved in birdies before Morgan rolled in an 18-footer for his birdie at the last, where McCandless left his effort from around the same distance agonisingly short.
“That was a pretty sweet way to win it,” admitted Morgan, who is now set to withdraw from the Scottish Youths’ Championship starting tomorrow at Lanark.
Morgan faces Longniddry’s Chris Wood in an all-East Lothian affair tonight while Noon is up against local hero Miller.
On paper, Miller looked to have a tough task on his hands against Gary Corrigan, but the Greenburn man came up against an opponent on fire.
“That’s the best I’ve played for a number of years,” declared Miller after a 5 and 4 triumph. “Gary was two-under for the holes played, but I had seven birdies and seven pars.”
Five of those birdies came in the opening six holes and Miller kept his foot on the gas by adding two more – at the eighth and tenth.
“It was just one of those nights when everything clicked,” added Miller, who has a wily old fox in his dad Derek on the bag.
Following up his first-round win over four-time champion Keith Nicholson, Wood claimed another notable scalp as he beat Silverknowes star Graham Robertson on the last green.
Robertson edged in front with a splendid birdie at the short 14th only to undo that good work straight away with a wayward tee shot at the next.
The former Edward Trophy winner then three-putted the 16th, made a great up and down from a greenside bunker to win the 17th with a birdie but also three-stabbled the last.
“I’m really pleased with my two wins so far and hopefully I can at least go one better,” said Wood, who lost to Ratho Park’s Neil Sneddon in last year’s quarter-finals. In a repeat of the 2000 final, Mark Timmins again came out on top against Keith Reilly, whose short game was described by his opponent as “frightening”.
One down after five, Timmins pointed to the short sixth as a turning point as the Pumpherston player chipped in there for a half after seeing his tee shot hit a tree and go in the water.
He now takes on another former winner in Alan Anderson, who seems determined to do things the hard way in his bid to repeat a 2011 success.
Returning to complete a match that was halted by darkness on Tuesday, the Bruntsfield Links player squeezed through at the 22nd against Linlithgow’s Ed Shannly.
He then lost the last two holes in his second-round match with John Yuille before beating the Royal Burgess man at the first extra hole.
Musselburgh player Benn McLeod won four holes in a row from the eighth as he beat former champion Allyn Dick to set up the remaining quarter-final against Brian Erskine after the Merchants man won a tight tussle with Broomieknowe’s Alan Sim.
Last-16 results: Chris Wood (North Berwick) bt Graham Robertson (Silverknowes) one hole; Lee Morgan (Dunbar) bt Scott McCandless (Bathgate) one hole; Brian Erskine (Merchants) bt Alan Sim (Broomieknowe) two holes; Benn McLeod (Musselburgh) bt Allyn Dick (Kingsknowe) 4 and 3; Ross Noon (Craigielaw) bt Alastair Macphail (Baberton) at 19th; David Miller (Duddingston) bt Gary Corrigan (Greenburn) 5 and 4; Mark Timmins (Pumpherston) bt Keith Reilly (Silverknowes) 2 and 1; Alan Anderson (Bruntsfield Links) bt John Yuille (Royal Burgess) at 19th