Golf: Lamb sees recipe for success

MUIRFIELD caddie Richard Lamb is hoping a college friendship has landed him the winning bag in this week's Amateur Championship.

Lamb is caddying for James Byrne, having teamed up with the player who is the top Scot in the world rankings through his son, Mark. He became friends with Byrne when they had a spell together at Arizona State University. Byrne is still there while Lamb, a decent player himself, is now helping run a golf school near Palm Springs.

"I'm caddying for James through his friendship with Mark and he's a very good player," said Lamb, who regularly caddies for Alistair Low, the Muirfield captain and former SGU chairman.

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Lamb Jnr's finest hour came when he won the Scottish Boys' Stroke Play Championship at Peterhead in 2002 – five years before Lamb claimed the same title at Cardross. That was the Banchory player's first significant success and he's gone from strength to strength since then. He certainly impressed his caddie in beating Tiago Rodrigues of Portugal 5 and 4 in the second round in sunny East Lothian. Asked if he felt Muirfield was a game that suited Byrne's game, Lamb remarked: "His game is suited to anywhere."

Another Lothians man on caddying duties this week is Paul Gibson, the Lothians Golf Association junior and coaching convenor.

As a favour for former European Tour winner Dean Robertson, he's on the bag for Welshman Rhys Enoch, who beat Philip McLean, the Scottish Order of Merit leader 2 and 1 in their second-round clash.

Craigielaw's Mark Hillson, the only Lothians player to qualify for the match-play phase, went out in the opening round.

Up against Italian Mattia Miloro, he was six down after ten before raising hopes of a stunning fightback when he won the 11th and 12th with birdies.

However, the match was effectively settled at the 13th. There, Hillson thought he'd hit a peach of a tee shot but saw his ball roll to 12 feet. Putting first, Miloro holed from 15 feet and Hillson missed. "That was the big hole," admitted the former Lothians champion afterwards. "From thinking I could get another hole back, I was back to five down.

"If I'd won that hole it would've been interesting to see how he would have coped losing three in a row."

Hillson, a quarter-finalist in this event at Formby 12 months ago, added: "He played well, though, and was a good player.

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"I didn't do much wrong but when you are not firing on all cylinders it's difficult against a solid player."

While it would have been nice to have seen some local interest in the later stages, there are still two reasons why Capital golf enthusiasts should still head along to Muirfield between now and Saturday's final. One is the quality of the golf that is on show in the event and the other is the chance to see one of the greatest courses in the world at its very best.

Roll on the 2013 Open!