Golf: Murrayfield men show their teeth

MURRAYFIELD, once regarded as a bit of a soft touch, are showing some teeth in this season's UK Accident Repair Summer League.

Stevie Stuart's side inflicted a first defeat of the season on Group 3 leaders Silverknowes in their latest outing and now have a massive incentive going into the two away games that end their qualifying campaign.

Silverknowes have already secured top spot in the group but Murrayfield might join them in the last eight if they can stage a grandstand finish.

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The first of those away games is against Duddingston this week and Stuart said: "Our excellent win over Silverknowes sets up for that one and it should be a mouthwatering game."

Silverknowes, who'd dropped just one point in their previous eight games, were missing Keith Reilly and Ian Doig and their hosts made the most of that break.

Colin Dick set Murrayfield on their way with a fine win over Tam Caldwell at the top of the order, with James Morrison chalking up an equally notable success over Graham Robertson in the match immediately behind.

Other winners for the home side were Ali Howie, Dave Marshall and Kenny Cumming, with Paul Heggie, Chris Milligan and Kenny Alexander replying for Silverknowes.

Duddingston's stuttering campaign continued as they lost at Torphin Hill, where wins from David Miller, Robbie Anderson and John Shepherd proved in vain for Steve Gilhooley's side.

Like Murrayfield, Torphin are enjoying an upturn in fortunes this season and their victory was secured by Euan MacKay, Wayne Fleming, Gary McNeil and Troy O'Connor, with John McWalter's half against Mike Power also proving crucial.

After their defeat at Kingsknowe, Brunstfield suffered another setback when they were held 4-4 at home to Merchants.

Wins from Kevin Cattanach, John Liddel and David Simpson were cancelled out by Andrew Helm, Alastair Brown and David Gladwin, with the other two games ending all square.

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"A disappointing result but, to be fair, it could have been a lot worse had Derek (Miller] and David not performed at the end," said Bruntsfield team manager John Cropper. "Derek, who was one down at the 18th, won it with par to secure a half whilst David won the 18th to secure a point.

"Last week at Kingsknowe we were missing five from the starting line-up and were still two down for this game. With the Championship over, there is a dearth of competitive golf at Bruntsfield and if we are to progress further we need our key players to retain a hunger for success."

Making the most of Bruntsfield's unexpected slip-up, Kingsknowe moved a point clear at the top of Group 2 as they won 4-3 at Craigmillar Park.

Young Willem Kerr might not think it just now but he'll eventually look back on a big defeat at the hands of Allyn Dick, the Lothians champion, as part of his golfing education.

Dick started with a bogey but then went on an incredible run. He had a hole-in-one – the first of his career – at the par-4 second and followed that with eight straight birdies to win 8 and 6.

Mike Foley, Graeme Duncan and Donny Munro also won for the visitors, while Andy Rowe's half against Peter Arnott was also valuable for Bill Buchan's boys. Jamie Yule, Innes Christie and Andy Utterson put Craigmillar Park's other points on the board.

"A tremendous victory in an incredibly close game against a very solid home side," reflected Buchan.

West Linton are now breathing down Bruntsfield's neck after a big home win over Broomieknowe, who, admittedly, were understrength.

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"It was a good result and this section will come down to points difference," said Simon Mackenzie, who won for the home side along with Graham Turner, Nick Barr, John McWilliams, Darren Coyle, Colin Taylor and Scott Walker.

"We have a tough game against Kingsknowe on Monday with another rearranged game at Craigmillar Park on Thursday."

Broomieknowe bounced back from that defeat with a big home win over Craigmillar Park, Jamie McIntosh earning glowing praise from his team captain, Scott Porter, after he overcome a bout of hay fever to win his match.

In Group 4 match, the spoils were also shared between Lothianburn and neighbours Swanston New.

In a closely-fought match, George Wither, Alex McKenzie, Chris Hughes and Dave Berrie delivered wins for the home side, while Swanston secured valuable points in games two and three when Stephen Speirs and David Murray beat Paul Logan and Allan Macpherson respectively.

Keith Liddle also won for Swanston but the crucial game was between Dougie Howieson and Grant Skinner, It ended dramatically as Skinner holed a 30-foot putt on the 18th for a birdie.

Defending champions Royal Burgess made it nine wins out of nine in the same section with a 5-3 home win over Musselburgh.

"A win at home to Lothianburn on Tuesday will set the new Summer League qualifying total, beating our own record that we set last year," said team captain Richard Hughes. "We have had quite a few players missing over the last couple of matches which has given a chance to other squad players who have all performed very well."

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In the same section, Baberton enjoyed their best result of the campaign so far – a win at Prestonfield.

Scott Johnston's produced the shot of the night as he holed a 4-iron for an albatross at the seventh and also had an eagle at the 16th as he beat Andy Laurence by two holes in a cracking top match.

Neilson Rutherford and Mike Crombie also won for Prestonfield, but the contributions of Dougie Waugh, Scott Carmichael, Ron Bradly, Alan Strang and Tom Cannon clinched the points for Baberton.

"Baberton's strength in depth was just too strong for us," reflected Prestonfield team manager Alan McEwan.

In their second match of the week, Baberton fell just short at Musselburgh, where a hole-in-one from Laurence at the sixth against Cameron Marr was not enough to stop the hosts winning 4-3.