Robertson holds his nerve to keep Watson at bay

SEVEN days after being pipped at the post in the Scottish Champion of Champions, Glenbervie’s Graeme Robertson staved off another final-round challenge to win the Craigmillar Park Open in Edinburgh.

Using his defeat at Leven, where he was denied a wire-to-wire win by Balmore’s Fraser McKenna, as motivation, the 23-year-old Stirling University student did just enough to keep Craig Watson, the winner in 1994, at bay.

Four behind playing partner Robertson heading into the final round, Watson, the 1993 Amateur champion, rolled back the years with a burst of four birdies in five holes from the 13th to close within one of the lead.

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After both players left themselves with long birdie attempts at the last, Robertson left his about five feet short but, after Watson then charged one past, he kept his nerve to hole it for the victory.

It is Robertson’s second SGU Order of Merit title triumph, though his first over the full distance after last year’s South East District Open was reduced to 36 holes at Musselburgh.

“I think I got ahead of myself in the Champion of Champions, so I used my memories from that to remain focused this time,” he said after signing off with a 67 for a 13-under-par total of 267.

Robertson, a member of the SGU senior squad, turned down the chance to join some of his team-mates on their training trip to South Africa earlier in the year. “I decided to concentrate on my studies,” said the final-year Stirling student. “But I managed to go on a shorter trip to Abu Dhabi with the university team and that was fantastic.”

Watson, now 43, closed with a 64, matching the best score of the weekend on a Capital course playing a bit more difficult than it has over the past couple of years. “I can still get round courses like this,” said the East Renfrewshire man with smile. “But it’s a different story on the courses where these young guys just hit it miles.”

Kingsknowe’s Allyn Dick, who shared the halfway lead with Robertson and Watson and played with them in the last two rounds, was third on 269, a shot ahead of 2010 winner Matthew Clark (Kilmacolm) and course record holder James White (Lundin).

As had been the case at Leven, White, last year’s Scottish Order of Merit winner, had left himself playing catch-up at the halfway stage before finishing strongly with rounds of 67 and 65. “I left myself with too much to do again,” he said.

In a decent follow-up to his Fife win, McKenna finished sixth, while Newmachar’s Graham Gordon, reinstated after a spell in the pro ranks, marked his return to top-level amateur golf by tying for 13th alongside South African amateur champion Brian Soutar.