Host club hope bows out of Scottish Amateur amid confusion

Confusion reigned as Nairn's Andrew Burgess progressed to the quarter-finals of the Scottish Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen at the expense of host club hope Mark Halliday.

Top seed Connor Syme is through the quarter-finals at Royal Aberdeen, where he meets Craig Howie. Picture: Kenny Smith

When the pair shook hands on the 18th green, Halliday thought they’d finished all square and was about to head for the first tee when Burgess declared that he’d actually won by one hole.

The pair spent around five minutes working back through the round before Halliday, the Royal Aberdeen club champion, had to accept that he’d miscalculated from the seventh hole onwards.

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“We needed a calculator to work it out there at the end,” joked Burgess, a 21-year-old who has completed two years of a golf scholarship at Armstrong State in Savannah, Georgia.

“It was definitely in my head that I had won at the last, but I think the scorers got it wrong somewhere and the confusion may have been caused when I went straight to the eighth tee after making a mess of the seventh.”

Asked if the pair had mentioned the score to each other at any point in the game, Burgess, who had his younger brother, Sean, caddying for him, added: “No, we didn’t verbalise it as we were playing our own game.

“At the end, Mark thought we were going into extra holes, but when we went through it holke by hole he accepted that I had actually finished one up.”

Halliday, a 43-year-old who’d knocked out the 2001 champion, Barry Hume, earlier in the day, admitted that getting caught up in the heat of the battle had led to his mistake.

“We were playing away, having a laugh together, and it was nip and tuck all the way,” he said.

“It’s the first time someone has shaken hands with me when I thought we were going to extra holes, but it turned out the scoring was wrong back to the seventh and I should have known better than to make a mistake like that.”

Burgess, who is enjoying his best run in this event on his sixth appearance, now meets Forres 23-year-old Jeff Wright after he beat Fintan McKenna, the other Royal Aberdeen player to make it through to the fifth round.

McKenna, who got into the event when Scottish No 1 and 2012 winner Grant Forrest pulled out, won the last with a par-4 to force extra-time only to lose his tee shot at the 19th.

“Neither of us played our best golf, but I am delighted to have come out on top,” admitted Wright, who finished third in the Scottish Order of Merit last season.

Top seed Connor Syme (Drumoig) and defending champion Robert MacIntyre both progressed comfortably to the last eight, where they meet Craig Howie and Alasdair McDougall respectively.

The Syme-Howie clash comes just three weeks after they formed an unbeaten foursomes pairing in helping Scotland make a successful defence of the Europeam Team title at Chantilly in France.

“It’s going to be strange playing against each other, but I’m looking forward to it,” admitted Peebles player Howie after he recovered from being one down with four to play to beat Turnhouse man Euan McIntosh by two holes.

This is an area that clearly brings out the best in Howie, who finished a successful spell at Stirling University earlier this year, as he won the 2012 Scottish Boys Championship at neighbouring Murcar Links.

“The North-East has been good to me and hopefully it will bring me luck again,” added the 21-year-old.

McDougall, who beat Tantallon’s Calum Hill in the morning before accounting for Andrew Gibson from Blairgowrie in the afternoon, was close to pulling out of the event last weekend.

“I was taken into the accident and emergency department at Paisley Royal Alexandra last Thursday night and ended up having an abscess removed,” revealed the 21-year-old Elderslie player.

“I had to have a general anesthetic and when I came out of hopsital, I spent two days at home. I did not think I was going to be able to play bit decided to come up anyway and give it a go.”

He now meets MacIntyre after the Glencruitten left-hander played his best golf of the week in beat Glenbervie’s Graeme Robertson, the 2014 beaten finalist, 4&3.

“I was struggling a bit in last week’s St Andrews Trophy,” said MacIntyre of representing Great Britain & Ireland against the Continent of Europe at Prince’s in Kent.

“But I’m back in the swing of things now and it’s exactly the same here as it was at Muirfield 12 months ago - if you hit fairways and greens you are going to be hard to beat.”

The 19-year-old, who lost in the final of the Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl last month, is now just three wins away from become the first player since Charlie Green in 1983 to successfully defend this title.

The remaining quarter-final sees Malcolm Pennycott from Royal Burgess take on Windyhill’s George Duncan.

Pennycott, who hails from Arran but has lived in Edinburgh since he studied at Heriot Watt University, pulled off a huge shock as he beat seeded Nairn teenager Sandy Scott 2&1 in the morning.

The 26-year-old was just as delighted, though, that he managed to back that up with a hard-earned 3&2 triumph over Will Walker from Belton Park in Lincolnshire in the last 16.

“My gran, who was a great supporter of me as well as golf in general, died last week, and it’s nice that I’ve now produced my best performance in a national tournament,” said Pennycott.


Fourth round

Fintan McKenna (Royal Aberdeen) bt Steve Buchan (Royal Aberdeen) one hole

Jeff Wright (Forres) bt Marc Watt (Inverallochy) 5&4

Andrew Burgess (Nairn) bt Chris Gaittens (Fortrose & Rosemarkie) 4&2

Mark Halliday (Royal Aberdeen) bt Barry Hume (Haggs Castle) 3&2

Connor Syme (Drumoig) bt Gordon Munro (Newmachar) 5&4

Stuart Easton (Irvine) bt Kyle Godsman (Moray) 4&2

Euan McIntosh (Turnhouse) bt Craig Stephen (Aboyne) one hole

Craig Howie (Peebles) bt Jack Harling (Banchory) one hole

Alasdair McDougall (Elderslie) bt Calum Hill (Tantallon) 2&1

Andrew Gibson (Blairgowrie) bt Fraer Carr (Crail Golfing Society) one hole

Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie) bt Will Porter (Carnoustie) 4&2

Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten) bt Andrew Davidson (Charleton) 4&2

Malcolm Pennycott (Royal Burgess) bt Sandy Scott (Nairn) 2&1

William Walker (Belton Park) bt Jamie Stewart (Old Ranfurly) 3&1

George DUncan (Windyhill) bt Craig Morrison (Haggs Castle) 4&3

Ben Murray (Portlethen) bt Rob Paterson (Kilspindie) 2&1

Fifth round

Wright bt McKenna at 19th

Burgess bt Halliday one hole

Syme bt Easton 3&2

Howie bt McIntosh two holes

McDougall bt Gibson 4&3

McIntyre bt Robertson 4&3

Pennycott bt Walker 3&2

Duncan bt Murray two holes