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Golf: George Burns chases history in Scottish Amateur at Murcar Links and Portlethen

Crail's George Burns is hoping to defend his title.
Crail's George Burns is hoping to defend his title.

Crail’s George Burns will bid to become the first player for 38 years to win back-to-back Scottish Amateur titles when the 2021 championship gets under way at Murcar Links and Portlethen on Tuesday.

Burns beat Kirkhill’s Lewis Irvine on the 19th hole of the 2019 final at his home club and, after the 2020 championship was cancelled because of Covid-19, is now bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the title since Charlie Green in 1983.

The Fifer has a formidable task on his hands because the championship has attracted virtually all of Scotland’s top men’s amateur golfers.

Irvine returns to see if he can go one better than two years ago, while 2016 champion George Duncan, from Windyhill, is also in the field.

New national boys’ champion Archie Finnie (Royal Burgess Golfing Society) and runner-up Ross Laird (Glenbervie), who met in the final of last week’s Scottish Boys’ Championship at Bruntsfield Links, are teeing up this week.

Teenager Calum Scott from Nairn is also in the field following a fine second-place finish alongside Italy’s Riccardo Fantinelli at the English Boys’ Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Bristol & Clifton.

Murcar Links and Portlethen are hosting the Scottish Men’s Amateur for the first time, but both have previously staged other Scottish Golf events.

Most recently, Murcar Links was the venue for the 2016 Scottish Boys’ Amateur won by Eric McIntosh after beating Irvine 2 & 1 in the final. It was also the scene of Tommy Fleetwood’s victory in the 2009 Scottish Men’s Open.

Portlethen hosted the 2013 Scottish Boys’ Under-16 Championship won by France’s Matthieu Caron.

Murcar Links club manager George Bruce (far left) and his team have been getting the course ready for the championship.

Murcar Links club manager George Bruce said: “All of us at the club were delighted when we were first offered the opportunity to host the Scottish Amateur in 2020.

“Obviously, the times were such that did not happen, but it was a unanimous ‘yes’ when we asked to host the championship this year.

“The team here at Murcar Links have worked tirelessly in preparation for the event and we now look forward to welcoming all participants and wish them all the very best in their quest to be crowned as Scottish Amateur champion.”

Portlethen club secretary Dino Becci said: “We at Portlethen golf club are extremely proud of our facility and for us to be recognised by hosting such a prestigious event as the Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship is a tremendous testimony to how far the club has come in such a relatively short period of time.

“As with the cream of the Scottish professional ranks who competed in last month’s Scottish PGA Northern Open, which we were also honoured to host, we very much look forward to giving a warm welcome to the best amateurs in the land.”

The championship begins with a 36-hole stroke-play qualifier on Tuesday and Wednesday. All competitors play one qualifying round at each venue with the leading 64 qualifiers progressing to the match play stage at Murcar Links on Thursday.

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