Golf: Mackenzie heading for MVP

FORMER Scottish golf champion Simon Mackenzie is already making a strong claim for the new 'Most Valuable Player' award in this season's Pollock (Scotrans) Ltd Edinburgh Summer League.

He has a 100 per cent record from West Linton's opening five matches, which have all resulted in wins to give them a four-point cushion in Section C.

In part one of a double- header, Mackenzie was seven-under-par for 13 holes on home soil in beating Duddingston's Cameron Hay. This included two eagles - the first when he holed an 8-iron at the 11th and the second when he knocked in a wedge at the 13th.

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David Miller notched Duddingston's sole success and needed to finish 2-2 to beat Kenny Mail, who also had a birdie at the 17th.

Two nights later, Mackenzie turned on the style again, coming back from three down after six to beat Fraser Jervis, as West Linton chalked up a superb win at Newbattle. "This was a must win-game for us but we were soundly beaten by a very strong West Linton team," admitted Newbattle stalwart Peter Hardwick.

In their second game of the week, Duddingston drew 4-4 at Bruntsfield Links, where the visitors saw Zander Culverwell cover the holes played in five-under in winning the top match before storming into a 4-1 lead.

"It was obvious early that we were serious in getting a good result and it was a creditable draw," said Duddingston team secretary Steve Gilhooley, while Bruntsfield team manager John Cropper groaned: "This was a blow to our hopes of qualifying for knockout stages."

In Section A, Baberton closed the gap on leaders Royal Burgess to just two points - the Juniper Green men also have a game in hand - with a home win over Liberton.

"I must congratulate Liberton in having four youngsters able to compete at this level, it only bodes well for the future of their club," noted Baberton's Norrie Robertson. At the other end of the age scale, Rob Bradly and Robert Jack were both on duty for their respective clubs but, on this occasion, they tasted defeat.

Dalmahoy are the pacesetters in Section B after they went to Murrayfield and proved too powerful for Stephen Stuart's side.

"Summer turned up for this game but so did a strong Dalmahoy side," said the Murrayfield team captain, who conceded other results now need to go their way if they are to make the knock-out stage.

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Broomieknowe and Ratho Park won in the same section, beating Craigmillar Park and Swanston New respectively.

At Broomieknowe, Jamie McIntosh, Kenny Smith, Andy Wynne, Stuart Beck, Alan Bradley and Niall Webster won for the home side.

"There was also a good half between Colin Renton and David Walker, or Mr Walker as Alan Bradley referred to his former high school teacher," said Broomie's Scott Porter.

Ratho got off to a poor start in their match, gaining only half a point from the first three matches.

Malcolm Campbell from Swanston New was four-under in defeating Neil Sneddon, but an excellent ten-foot birdie putt from Stuart Imrie salvaged a half at the last.

Solid wins for Richard McKenzie-Smith, Gregor Drummond and Graham Binnie followed to give the home side a one-point lead with two close games still out on the course.

Teenager Drew McIntosh produced a fantastic win over the more experienced Graeme Millar and David Campbell delivered the best performance of the night in the anchor role, bagging seven birdies in a one-hole victory over James Muir.

Section D is shaping up to be a close affair, with Glencorse and Mortonhall locked together at the top on six points, closely followed by Musselburgh.

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Following on from a win at Prestonfield, Glencorse recorded a whitewash at home against Merchants, with Ian Shanks feeling literally on a high as he pulled off the biggest night of the win.

Called into play late after having just completed a hot air balloon ride, he won 8 and 6.

"We are now looking forward to the next match away at Mortonhall, but know we will have to be at our best if we want any chance of continuing our winning run," said Ali Shanks.

Low scoring was the order of the night as Mortonhall won at home against Prestonfield - Duncan Hamilton was three-under, Mark Dickson five-under and Martin Fitheridge four-under until losing a contact lens and, eventually, his match.

"Time for the laser surgery," joked Mortonhall team manager Graeme Stark

Musselburgh, meanwhile, kept up their challenge for one of the two spots in the knock-out phase with a him win over plucky Prestonfield.

"There are clear signs of progress in the squad," noted Prestonfield's Alan McEwan.

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