RENFREWSHIRE Golf Union squad members Craig Watson and Matthew Clark got off to a flying start in the race to top the Order of Merit.
The opening event – staged at Craigmillar Park in Edinburgh – saw East Renfrewshire’s Watson, the former British Amateur Champion and Craigmillar winner in 1994, in a strong position after opening rounds of 68 and 66.
He slipped with a third-round 70 – four shots behind the leader.
But an outstanding final round of 64 was good enough for second place, behind Graeme Robertson, of Glenbervie.
Clark, who represents Kilmacolm GC, started well with an opening round of 65 but a second-round 72 left him well down the field.
However, rounds of 67 and 66 on the final day were good enough to give him a fourth spot and valuable Order of Merit points.
There is a long way to go in the season but it’s an encouraging start for both players.
In other news, there was disappointment with the early exit of the bulk of the Renfrewshire boys competing in the Scottish Boys’ Championships at Murcar.
However, those who did survive the first round put in some top-notch performances.
Fraser Lauder (Paisley), Colin Edgar (Cochrane Castle), Martin McCorkell (Gleddoch) and Paul Reilly (Lochwinnoch) all put on a show.
Lauder made it to round three but was beaten 4 and 3 by Lewis Bain, from Turnhouse.
Edgar disposed of his first three opponents convincingly – 5 and 4, 5 and 4 then a great 6 and 5 victory over Ross White, from Muckhart.
However, in round four, he bowed out when Andrew Burgess of Nairn beat him on the 17th green.
McCorkell also had a good tournament which included a great 5 and 3 victory over Gavin Petrie (Forfar) but was unlucky to draw the eventual semi finalist, Connar Cook, in the fourth round.
The lone survivor into round five was 17 year-old Paul Reilly whose cheerful confidence helped see off his previous four opponents very convincingly – including a massive 6 and 5 win against the fancied Ben Craggs from Glenbervie.
He started well in his match against eventual finalist Ewan Scott and was two-up after seven holes.
Young Reilly then started to find bunker after bunker and, by the 16th, the match was all square.
A birdie from Scott followed by a great par into the wind at 17 was enough to end Reilly’s run.
But it was an excellent performance and one which will give him great confidence for the future.