Two-time Highland League winner Robert Duncan is set to go head to head with Fraserburgh’s Grant James in Sunday’s Evening Express Champion of Champions men’s handicap final.
Murcar Links member Robert, 40, defeated Shaun Anderson at the 19th at Longside to book his place in this weekend’s Banchory showdown.
Former Buckie Thistle player Robert, who lifted the Highland League trophy twice during his spell at Victoria Park from 2007-2015, said: “I’m looking forward to the final which should be close, as we have similar handicaps playing at tough links courses.”
Robert, who also had spells with Peterhead and Aberdeen, and works in supply chain for Seaway 7 in Westhill, added: “The Champion of Champions has been a lot of fun and I have enjoyed the opportunity to play other courses.
“All my matches en route to the final have been tough, but played in great spirit.
“I have been playing golf for about nine years and started playing after retiring from playing left-back for Buckie.
“I love my golf and find it a good way to relax at the weekend.”
Grant overcame Auchmill’s Daniel Macrae 2&1 in the other semi to secure his spot in the final.
He is delighted to be representing Fraserburgh in the showpiece match.
“I hope I do the club proud,” said Grant, 39.
“I haven’t been playing well and my biggest issue has been consistency, while my putting has not been great.
“However, I will take the advice of my regular partner Alan Mitchell on board and I hope that everything goes well on the day.
“I wish Robert well and hope there is plenty of good golf on show.”
Turriff’s Mike to meet Stonehaven’s Neil in men’s senior scratch showdown
Mike Singer admits winning the Evening Express Champion of Champions senior scratch title would be one of his greatest achievements.
Turriff senior champ Mike Singer will face Stonehaven’s Neil Irvine in Sunday’s final at Banchory.
Mike, 60, said: “This is my second year representing Turriff in the Champion of Champions seniors scratch matchplay and I have thoroughly enjoyed every match.
“I’ve had a good run this year with some very close games and some comfortable wins, although some pre-match nerves have added to the excitement of each round.”
Mike, who works in sales at a construction equipment supplier in Inverurie, added: “It’s been wonderful to play courses that you haven’t played for decades and seeing how they have matured.
“Some of them look completely different and are tougher to play and it’s been great to meet different players who have all been gentlemen. It’s a fantastic competition.
“So if I happen to win on Sunday, it would probably go down as one of my best achievements.
“I have never managed to win the Turriff club championship. I only managed to be runner-up a couple of times so to win on Sunday would be a ‘major’ win in my eyes.”
Mike defeated Brian Dunbar, of McDonald Ellon, by 8&6 in the semi-finals after defeating defending champion Iain Galbraith, of Murcar Links, at the 20th in the last eight.
An opening 5&4 home success over Tarland’s Raymond Reid was followed by a bye in the second round after Harry Yorston (Alford) scratched.
Neil, meanwhile, got off to a flying start when booking his place in the Evening Express Champion of Champions senior scratch final.
Stonehaven member Neil, 65, won five of his first six holes during his semi-final against Portlethen’s Hugh Murdoch on his way to a 4&2 victory.
Neil said: “I was lucky to again have home advantage and I made a really good start.
“I remained 5up at the turn, but Hugh won the 10th before driving out of bounds at the next and I remained five up.
“Hugh fought back by winning the 12th and 13th to reduce the deficit to three.
“I did well to escape with halves at the next two holes and a par was good enough to win the 16th and the match 4&2.”
“I’m looking forward to the final,” added Neil.
“I have played Banchory a couple of times this year and it is always in good condition.”
Neil had booked his place in the last four with a win at the 19th against Aberdeen FC Gothenburg Great John Hewitt (Murcar Links).
A nine-time winner of the Stonehaven senior club championship, Neil had earlier wins over Dunecht House’s Alistair Bean and Nigel Bennett (Torphins).
Men’s senior handicap final set
Auchenblae’s Lindsay Greig was one of the first players through to the Evening Express Champion of Champions gala day at Banchory.
Lindsay will take on Jim Coutts, of Longside, in the Champion of Champions men’s senior handicap final after defeating Ronald Dickie by one hole at Keith in the semi-finals.
A 6&4 home victory over Newmachar’s Gary Sutherland had earlier booked Lindsay’s place in the last four.
Longside’s Jim defeated Ian Thomson by 3&2 at Kemnay in the last four after overcoming Bobby Baxter (Craibstone) by 1 hole.
The property, legal and financial law firm are providing £200 to the winners, £100 to the runners-up and £50 to the semi-finalists.