Golf: Heap on course to finish top of the pile

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The Independent Online
CRAIG HEAP today aims to become the first player in history from East Kilbride to win the Johnnie Walker Scottish Amateur Championship.

The 23-year-old trainee architect from Glasgow booked his place in the 36-hole showdown against Mark Loftus of Cowglen at Cruden Bay with victory over Colville Park's Steven O'Hara in the quarter-finals, then a 3 and 2 win over Steven Wallace of Prestwick St Cuthbert in the last four.

The largely unheralded Wallace stunned the championship yesterday when he beat the defending champion, Graham Rankin, 2 and 1. But the Ayrshire 18-year-old could not repeat the feat against Heap and was never in front from the moment he lost the first to Heap's birdie three.

"I reached the last eight last year at Prestwick so it's nice to do better than that," said Heap, the former Scottish boy and youth cap. "Hopefully I can go on and finish it off now."

Fellow finalist Loftus will attempt to follow in the footsteps of his clubmate Gordon Cosh, who won the prestigious championship at Muirfield back in 1968. The talented 20-year-old made sure of his final berth with a thrilling last hole quarter-final victory over Grantown-on-Spey's Chris Campbell before comfortably beating the Ranfurly Castle 19-year-old Gregor Munro, 3 and 2 in the semi-final.

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