The Lothians end 14-year wait for national team crown
SCOTLAND: Tuesday, Sept 7th
FORMAT: 36-hole strokeplay/ Best-of-five team matchplay
New Scottish Men’s Area champions The Lothians became the seventh different winner in as many years when they triumphed at The Kings Club but there were a few heart-stopping moments along the way.
County champion Allyn Dick’s 40-foot birdie putt at the last secured them their first championship in 14 years in their centenary season. The Kingsfield player was partnering Kenneth Glen in the foursomes match and, with Andrew Benson (West Lothian) and Scott McCandless (Bathgate) having already secured big single victories, Dick’s heroics put the seal on it.
However Lothians, who led the 36-hole qualifying process at the Inverness venue, came within a whisker of not even reaching the final. In their last four clash with Perth & Kinross, Rory Franssen (Auchterarder) missed a three-foot putt to defeat Scottish Amateur champion Angus Carrick (Craigielaw) and send them out.
At the next extra hole, Carrick holed out from six feet for a birdie to secure a 3-2 victory.
“It was brilliant”, team captain Neil Anderson told Scottishgolf.org. “I’m delighted for all the boys. They all played very well and not just in the final. It has been a really good performance right from the start.
“Against Borders we got off to a great start with the wins from Andrew and Scott and then Allyn produced that putt to win the match. He’s had a fantastic year and that was certainly a great way to cap it off.”
Scottish Men’s Area Championship – last seven winners
• 2014: Renfrewshire
• 2015: Ayrshire
• 2016: Lanarkshire
• 2017: North East
• 2018: The North
• 2019: Fife
• 2020: Not played
• 2021: The Lothians
In the final McCandless never lost a hole as he saw off Simon Fairbairn (Torwoodlee) 5&4 while Benson was three up by the turn and, after losing 10, won the next three holes on his way to a 5&3 success over Jack Mcdonald (Roxburghe).
With Dick and his Craigielaw-based partner finally overcoming Connor Graham (Blairgowrie) and Daniel Bullen (Auchterarder), it meant the anchor match between Carrick and Simon Roger (Peebles) was declared a halve with three holes to play.
Earlier in the morning there was high drama as Carrick and Franssen enjoyed a great battle in the deciding tie. After finishing 18 holes all square, Carrick struggled at the first extra hole but his opponent three putted to bogey it and at the next, the Craigielaw player drove to the edge of the green and got up and down for a match-clinching three.
Carrick had been in inspired form in qualifying. A second round 64, which included eight birdies, left him as the joint leading individual alongside Darren Howie (Peebles) with county team-mate Connor Wilson (Castle Park), just a shot further back on eight under.
Their efforts ensured the The Lothians led the qualifying on 21 under – the best five out of six scores counted in each round. Borders were next best on -14, ahead of North (-13) and Perth & Kinross (-10).