Tuesday, July 11, 2006




Just when it looked as if the combination of an unfamiliar course and a swirling wind was going to put the par of 70 out of reach for everyone, in came big Daniel Fitzpatrick at the tail end of the field of 120 to match it and take the lead in the Douglas Gillespie Scottish boys’ Under-16 open championship at Deeside Golf Club, Aberdeen today

A junior at Greenock Golf club he may be, but there won’t be many members as tall as 16-year-old Daniel, 6ft 4in in his stocking soles.

After only one practice round over the Bieldside parkland course, Daniel eliminated the mistakes that inflated so many scores – one hapless lad had a 12 at the par-4 ninth.

Master Fitzpatrick varied from par only four times.

He had two birdies – a pitch-and-putt 4 at the long sixth and a 3 at the 17th where he got down in two from 70yd after using a three-iron off the tee.

And he had two bogies – a 5 at the ninth where he drove right into trouble and a 6 at the long 13th where again he pay the price of failing to keep his drive on the fairway.

“I guess that’s one of the best rounds of my life, considering I had only one practice round. The only two off-line drives I had cost me bogeys. Other than that I drove it well,” said Daniel.

He leads by one shot from Scott Clarkson, from Skipton, Yorkshire, in the first group out at 7.30am and Sam McLaren from the King James VI club in Perth.

“I made a couple of silly mistakes to drop shots at the 12th and 15th otherwise I would have got round in par or better,” said Scott who birdied the long 13th in halves of 36 and 35,

Sam McLaren, 16-year-old junior champion at his club and winner of the Elie boys’ open earlier in the season, had a pair of 2s on his card. He was one of the very few to start with a birdie at the short first. He actually took too much club off the tee – a four-iron – but pitched into the hole from 30yd.

His other 2 came at the 16th where he holed from 5ft after a seven-iron tee shot.

Sam’s other birdie came at the eighth where he had a pitch and putt 3. His worst holes were the fourth and fifth – missing the green left, then right with his approaches – the 10th, where he underclubbed, and the 11th where he three-putted from just short of the green.

North-east hopes of providing the winner of this 54-hole event, for which the leading 40 and ties at the end of Wednesday’s second round go forward to the final 18 holes, are still high.

Only three shots off the pace on 73 are Ian Allan (Hopeman), Scott Fraser (Northern) and Nick Macandrew (Cullen) while one shot behind them come another Hopeman boy, Kyle Godsman, and David Law (Hazlehead).

Considering he started with a double-bogey 5 and had another at the short 12th, Allan did very well indeed to keep his nerve and was rewarded with birdies at the 15th – after a big drive – and the short 16th where he holed from 15ft.

Scott Fraser was cruising only nicely on the outward half with birdies at the third, fifth and seventh. Things started to go awry when he bogeyed the ninth to be out in two-under-par 34. Then he had a double-bogey 6 at the 10th and dropped another shot at the 11th. A birdie at the 13th put him back on an even keel, or so it seemed, until he bogeyed the 15th, 17th and 18th for 39 home.