PERTH, Scotland (July 31, 2013) -- On a day when the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship sprung up typical surprises, the top three seeds in the initial 256-man field were all left standing.
Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest, the defending champion, continued his comfortable progress to round four, with Jack McDonald of Kilmarnock Barassie and Glenbervie’s Graeme Robertson joining him late in the day after tough tests. But, elsewhere, the seeds simply tumbled.
Most impressively, part-time baker boy Greig Marchbank found all the ingredients to dish up third-round success against the fourth seed, Scott Borrowman.
Marchbank, 19, has failed to make a cut this season but has found his form over Blairgowrie’s Lansdowne layout.
Dollar’s Borrowman helped Scotland reach the final of the European Men’s Team Championship earlier this month, but he was on the end of a 7&5 defeat.
Ex-Scottish Boys Stroke Play champion Marchbank, who works nightshift at his dad’s bakers in Thornhill, said: “This year has not been great, but I’ve found my confidence this week.
“I’ve just been trying to get better and play more consistently. With helping my dad at night, I sleep during the day and play golf later on – but he has given me time off this week.”
Borrowman was one of four seeds to fall today, with James Ross, Daniel Young and Blairgowrie member Bradley Neil also exiting.
Neil, the Scottish Boys champion, lost four of the opening six holes to fellow Scotland squad player Lawrence Allan (Alva) and was unable to claw back the deficit, losing 4&3.
Neil, 17, said: “I could easily sit and mope around, but I’ve got to get over this and prepare for the Europeans next week and then the Home Internationals.”
But Allan, who recently completed his first year at Southeastern Louisiana University, then lost out to Royal Aberdeen’s Nick Macandrew, while Ross’ conqueror, Fraser McKenna, was beaten by Mark Riddell of Baberton. Bradley’s brother, Connor Neil, also lost out to end the five-strong Blairgowrie challenge as early as round two.
While Forrest eased past Bathgate’s Simon Lockhart, there were far harder tests for McDonald and Robertson.
McDonald hurt his right wrist escaping from under a tree at the 16th and was visibly in pain as he came through at the 18th against Marc Owenson of Longniddry.
“The wrist hasn’t swollen up so, touch wood, I’m okay,” said McDonald, who faces past quarter-finalist Conor O’Neil of Pollok in round four. “I’ve had tight matches so far, but at least I’ve been under pressure.”
Robertson, meanwhile, staged brilliant late comebacks in both his ties yesterday to oust Steven Hume of Craigie Hill and Bothwell Castle’s Colin Baird. The Glenbervie man birdied 15, 16 and 17 in the Hume game, before reaching the last-32 thanks to a holed bunker shot for an eagle 3 at the long 17th against Baird.
The fourth-round has now thrown up some intriguing ties, with James White of Lundin notably meeting fellow SGU Men’s Performance Squad player Robertson.
White played a gruelling 42 holes today, going to the 24th to finally dispatch Keith Shanks of Golf House, Elie, before coming back from four down after five to beat Murray Naysmith (Marriot Dalmahoy).
Kilmacolm’s Matt Clark, who ended the run of Craig Lawrie, also has an exciting tie, on paper, against Scottish Schools champion Connor Syme.
Clark said: “Connor is not someone I’m familiar with, but I hear he is a talented player with loads of ability, so it’s going to be a tough match. I’ve putted well, but nothing has dropped so I’m due some.”