Golf: Gallacher achieves relative success: Tim Glover reports from Carnoustie

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The Independent Online
CONSIDERING how often the Amateur Championship is held north of the border, Scotland's record is particularly uninspiring. The last Scotsman to win the most important tournament in amateur golf was Reid Jack in 1957 but two Scottish teenagers kept the Saltire flying here yesterday. Stephen Gallacher and Hugh McKibbin won their way through to the quarter-finals and will play against each other this morning.

Gallacher, the 17-year-old nephew of Bernard Gallacher, the Ryder Cup captain, survived a torrid match against the Irishman, Raymond Burns, in the fourth round before prevailing at the first extra hole. Burns, from Warrenpoint, County Down, appeared to have the match in hand. He was two up playing the 15th and should have gone three up. Gallacher was bunkered but Burns duffed a chip shot. With Gallacher three feet from the hole and Burns two feet the Irishman offered the Scotsman a half which was gratefully accepted. 'I thought I was beaten,' Gallacher said.

With three holes to play Burns was still two up but Gallacher, who won the Scottish amateur championship last month, the second-youngest player ever to do so, won the 16th and 17th holes, reaching the green in two at the latter with mighty blows with his three-wood. All square playing the 18th, Gallacher had the upper hand but Burns, after driving into heavy rough, somehow cleared the burn that dissects the fairway and then played a superb chip to within three feet to half the hole. They returned to the first where there was another twist to the tale. Gallacher missed the green to the left but chipped to three feet. Burns, on the fringe, proceeded to take three putts and lost the hole and the match with a five to a four.

McKibbin, the 18-year-old Ayrshire boys champion from Troon, advanced into the last eight with two outstanding victories. In the morning he put out Michael Welch, one of the favourites, and after a brief break for lunch defeated Garry Hay, the Scottish Walker Cup player.

McKibbin and Welch were all square playing the formidable 17th but while the Englishman took three to get down from the fringe, McKibbin chipped to within a matter of inches. Welch made a heroic effort to square the match at the 18th where his approach shot homed in on the flag, nearly hit the stick and rolled 10 feet past. He missed the putt that would have kept him in the match.

When McKibbin tackled Carnoustie again the weather, at times, was fierce although not as prolonged or as ferocious as it had been in the qualifying rounds at the beginning of the week when the press tent was blown down. 'You have got to be an idiot to order a tent in that weather,' the man who rented the marquee to the Royal and Ancient said. 'You have got to be an even bigger idiot to actually put it up.'

McKibbin established an early lead against Hay, winning the first two holes with birdie threes and he ran out a comfortable winner by 3 and 1.

Ian Garbutt, who won the English Amateur Championship two years ago at the age of 18, defeated the defending champion Gary Wolstenhome in the third round and the South African Michael Scholz in the fourth, both by the margin of 2 and 1.

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