Championship favourite Sandy Scott was nearly perfect on his way into the last 32 of the Scottish Boys’ but seeds started to topple in the wind and rainswept Murcar Links yesterday.
Nairn’s Scott was just one hole away from a complete whitewash of his national squad colleague Glen Burrett in a surprisingly one-sided third round tie but the seeds were melting away in his half of the draw.
Michael Lawrie, son of Open champion Paul, and Scott are still on course for a meeting this afternoon but the New Club’s John Paterson produced the shock of the top half of the draw in beating seed Matthew McCulloch.
Paterson raced to four-up at the turn but admitted to some stress on the back nine as McCulloch rallied.
“I was in control but I expected him to come back and me at he did, but thankfully I was able to close it out on the 17th,” said Paterson.
From Stirlingshire, and a pupil at Balfron High School, the 16-year-old’s family have a house in St Andrews where they spend most weekends and holidays, hence his affliliation with the New Club.
“It’s just the best thing you can have in golf, a junior resident’s ticket for £120 and I get to play the Old Course and all the rest as much as I want,” he said.
The eventual aim is a college scholarship to play golf but having spent all winter preparing for this championship, John will down clubs immediately he is finished.
“I have to catch up on the academics, I’m sitting five Highers and it’s really important I get on top of that, so golf is going to take a back seat.”
Scott came close to the ultimate in matchplay, a 10 and 8 win over his Scottish squad colleague Burrett. He won the first eight holes until he burned the edge at the 9th with a birdie putt and settled for a half, but swiftly closed out the Haggs Castle player with a birdie at the 10th to win 9 and 8.
“I was definitely going for it once I was seven-up after seven,” admitted Scott, requiring three birdies and seven pars, including holing out a “ridiculous” flop shot over a bunker at the fifth.
Burrett, who is himself off scratch, didn’t help his own cause with two lost balls and one into a hazard on the 8th.
“I was expecting a close game, I’ve known Glen for years and he was one of the best Under-14s when we were at that age,” said Scott. “I know how good he is as a player, it was just one of those days my best play and his worst came at the wrong times for him.”
Sandy did lose his 12-year-old young brother Calum, beaten in the second round but taking his opponent to the final green, but seems on track to meet Lawrie, who has recovered from his scare in the first round with two solid wins and now takes on Craigie Hill’s Brendan Murdoch in the last 32.
That might be for the right to take on Scott, but he has a tough tie tomorrow against local Fintan McKenna, a member at Royal Aberdeen just over the southern boundary of the Murcar course.
Other seeds to go out were Scottish Schools champ Darren Howie, Muckhart’s Robert Watson and Marc Watt (Inverallochy), but Auchterarder’s Rowan Carey is through to the last 32 after an extra hole win over Andrew Thornton (Muckhart).
The 15-year-old now meets seed Callum Bruce from the Duff House Royal club in Banff.