Stephen Gallacher and Colin Montgomerie lead tributes to former Scotland cap Bryan Shields

Stephen Gallacher and Colin Montgomerie have led a flood of tributes to Bryan Shields, a former Lothians champion and Scottish international, who has died at the age of 54 following a battle with cancer.

Bryan Shields won the Scottish Youths' Championship in 1984, beating an up-and-coming Colin Montgomerie into third place

Shields played his part in Bathgate’s rich tale of golfing glory, joining Eric Brown, Bernard Gallacher and Stephen in making the West Lothian club a powerful force over the years.

He won the Scottish Youths Championship at East Renfrewshire and Eastwood in 1984, beating an up-and-coming Montgomerie into third place in the now defunct under-21s’ tournament.

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Shields, who was a team-mate of Montgomerie’s during an international career that saw him represent Scotland at boys, youths and full level, also reached the semi-finals of the 1986 Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham.

Bathgate clubmates Bryan Shields and Stephen Gallacher, both bottom right, helped Lothians win the Scottish Area Team Championship at Lundin

Four years year later in the same event, he finished second behind David Gilford, who went on to play in the Ryder Cup, in the qualifying after following a 66 at Luffness with a 74 at Muirfield.

At county level, Shields won the Lothians Boys’ Championship in 1983 before adding the Lothians Championship five years later, topping the men’s Order of Merit in both 1988 and 1989.

Around the same time, he was also a key member of the Lothians side during its dominance of the Scottish Area Team Championship.

In addition, Shields was the only player to win the Linlithgowshire Boys Championship three times, eclipsing both Brown and Bernard Gallacher in the process.

“He was a great friend, having known him all my days,” said four-time European Tour winner Stephen. “My great uncle who got me into golf gave Bryan his first set of clubs as well. He used to go to his house every New Year, so I have known Bryan since I was a nipper.

“When my dad played a lot and I was at the club with him, Bryan was the one outwith

Eric Brown and my uncle Bernard that you looked up to because he played for the Lothians and played for Scotland at the time.

“”I was pretty good at a young age, thankfully, and I started to partner him in team matches when he wasn’t playing with his brother Davy, who was a good player as well. We played for Bathgate and the county, everything, really.

“He was the head of the porters at St John’s Hospital in Livingston and gave me a job. I worked there for three or four years from October to March, doing that to raise money to play the rest of the year.

“I was partnering him at the weekends and working for him during the week, which was a strange scenario but a very enjoyable one. We’ve been close pals all our days.

“He was a great golfer and had a heart of a lion on the golf course. That was also the case as he fought his cancer. He kept his dignity and didn’t moan once about the hand he’d been dealt.”

Shields and his wife, Kirsty, joined Stephen and Helen Gallacher at their 20th wedding anniversary celebrations in East Lothian towards the end of last year.

“He couldn’t play, but he came round The Renaissance in a buggy and had some banter with the boys. It is great to have those memories,” added Gallacher.

Eight-time European No 1 Montgomerie also paid tribute to Shields, saying: “I remember his competitiveness and his huge will to win.”

Scott Knowles, a former Scottish Golfer of the Year, described Shields as a “great golfer and true legend”, adding: “He always joked he was small in size but had the heart of a

lion.”

Mike Robson, who played with Shields for the Lothians, concurred, saying: “Bryan was a 'wee terrier' of a golfer, never gave up and knew within himself he had the ability to beat anyone. However, at no time did he boast or display any cockiness.

“He was an excellent golfer who deserved more than one full cap and will be sorely missed by many, many people.”

Shields is survived by wife Kirsty and daughter Ava.

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