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Collier progresses at Scottish Amateur Championship

Andy Collier's switch from football to golf kicks off with a win. Picture: Walter Neilson

Andy Collier's switch from football to golf kicks off with a win. Picture: Walter Neilson

  • by MARTIN DEMPSTER
at Downfield
 

The 21-year-old, a goalkeeper with East Fife until hanging up his gloves after being diagnosed with diabetes, squeezed through at the 19th against Scott Graham (Arbroath Artisans) on his debut in the Scottish Golf Union’s 
flagship event.

Collier, who was previously on Airdrie’s books, played under Stevie Crawford, John Robertson and Gordon Durie during his spell with East Fife, the latter being in charge when they faced Rangers in a League Cup first-round tie in Glasgow in 2012.

“That was Rangers’ first home match as a Third Division club,” said Collier, who was on the bench as the Fifers went down 4-0, of the Ibrox club having been relegated after going into liquidation. “It was packed, but I think they told us there were just 38,000 so we would get less money. It was a great experience to be there – a bit noisier than Downfield.”

Collier, who was two up through 15 but three-putted 16 then lost 17 to a birdie before being conceded the 19th with his par putt just two feet away, was diagnosed with type-1 
diabetes last April.

“I knew something was wrong and it became increasingly difficult to play,” said the Balbirnie Park player of his football career being cut short. “I was tired and thirsty and I needed to pee just about every ten minutes. . . not so easy on a football pitch but easier at the golf.

“Some of the doctors said that it could’ve started by me stopping a shot and damaging my pancreas. There was a spell I was drinking two litres of water every hour.

“In a strange kind of way, the diagnosis might have been a good thing for me now that I’m managing the condition. I’ve got my own business sports coaching business with kids and I’m really optimistic about my golfing future.”

As Collier’s career switches from football to golf, Barry Hume has moved – sort of – in the opposite direction. He’s the managing director of a business that has Ronald de Boer, the former Ajax and Rangers player, among its ambassadors.

“I run a scholarship company, Soccer Innovation, for young footballers,” said the 32-year-old after crushing Blairgowrie’s 
Connor Neil, older brother of top seed Bradley, to book his second-round spot at the 
Dundee venue.

It’s a course that brings out the best in Hume, who was reinstated to the amateur ranks last year. He finished third here in the 1997 Scottish Boys’ Stroke-Play Championship then returned four years later to win this event.

On that occasion, he was an impressive 40-under for 139 holes and six birdies were bagged in getting off to a promising start on this occasion.

“It just fits my eye, so I’ve got access to good memories as well which is always useful to have at certain times,” said the Haggs Castle man. “Today I hit it well off the tee, gave myself loads of chances and took those chances. Connor had a few mishaps, which made it a little easier on certain holes.”

Following the first-day exit of James Ross, Cawder’s Jamie Savage became the second seed to bow out. Despite being three up after four, the quarter-finalist in last month’s Amateur Championship lost 3 and 2 to Carnoustie’s Daniel Elder.

“I’ve won a couple of club championships this year and knew that if I came here and could knock Jamie out it would be a great achievement for me,” said Elder, 21, after recovering from playing the wrong ball at the first.

Grant Forrest, the 2012 winner, opened his bid by beating Craigielaw clubmate Greg Smail, who also caddied for this season’s St Andrews Links Trophy winner when he played in The Open last year. “It was hard playing Greg as we’ve played golf together since we were 13,” said Forrest after a 4 and 3 success.

Already through to the last 64 is title favourite Neil, the Amateur champion having swept aside Bathgate 16-year-old Joe Bryce in his second-round match.

• For results, log on to www.scottishgolf.org

 

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