Blairgowrie’s hot prospect Connor Graham has already made history at Murcar Links and is poised to tear up what remains of the record books if he continues in the Scottish Amateur Championship.
The 14-year-old is throught to be the youngest-ever to reach the national championship semi-finals after victories yesterday over top seed Ben Murray and the 2019 finalist Lewis Irvine at the links north of Aberdeen yesterday.
Connor now takes on Craigielaw’s Angus Carrick in Saturday morning’s semi-final after going to the second extra hole before prevailing over Irvine in their quarter-final.
He earlier in the day despatched Murray, the Portlethen member who had led the strokeplay qualifying.
Graham faces Carrick in semis
“It’s amazing to get into the semis because we had no idea how far we were going to get at the start of the week,” he said. “It was good just making the cut but getting to the semis makes it extra special.
“Lewis was a tough opponent and I had to play really good golf to come out on top.”
Graham is a runaway leader of the Scottish Boys Order of Merit this season but now faces another tough assignment in Carrick, the son of the 1985 Scottish Amateur champion and Walker Cup player David Carrick.
The Craigielaw member defeated Graham’s club colleague Cormac Sharpe in the last 32 and then won 4 and 3 over Auchterarder’s Rory Franssen, who had ended the excellent run of another under-16 player, US-based Niall Shiels Donegan.
Carrick, now 27, was never headed after winning four of the first eight holes against Franssen.
“I played solidly and hardly missed a shot,” said the victor. “I had a handful of birdies and just one bogey which is always going to be tough to beat round here.
“It’s a tremendous achievement to get through to the semi-finals. I reached the quarter finals at Muirfield (won bt Robert MacIntyre in 2015) so it’s nice to go one round further here.
“I really looking forward to tomorrow regardless of what happens,” he added. “I’m just going to go out and enjoy it and see what comes.”
Ni meets Wilson in second semi
After Irvine’s demise, Murrayfield’s Andrew Ni finally ended the title defence of George Burns on the final green.
The Crail Golfing Society had won a key match against internationalist Darren Howie (Peebles) but having fought back again from two down to all-square, lost the 17th. Burns nearly holed from a greenside bunker at the 18th to force extra holes but the ball stayed up and Ni progressed.
“George is an incredible golfer and made it very tough for me towards the end,” said 23-year-old Ni. “I just had to stay calm. My Dad was on the bag to keep me calm and to make sure I played my own game and not against him.
“I knew he would go close out of the bunker at the last because he did the same at the fourth. He did almost hole it but thankfully for me he didn’t and I was able to two-putt and get out of there.”
Ni’s next opponent will now take on Lothians county team mate Connor Wilson from the Castle Park club in Edinburgh, who ended the hopes of another Crail GS contender, Andrew Davidson in the quarer finals.
“Andrew’s a steady player and doesn’t make many mistakes so I’m pleased to have beaten him and get to the last day,” said Wilson.
“I’ve known Andrew (Ni) for a long time so I know my game against him tomorrow will be very tough as well.”