BURNS WINS SCOTTISH AMATEUR DELIVERING CRAIL A UNIQUE VICTORY DOUBLE
by Bernie McGuire
Crail Golfing Society hero George Burns not only brilliantly captured a first Scottish Amateur Championship but he delivered Crail the Scottish Amateur crown remarkably on a first hosting in the near 100-year history of the event.
It is also the first occasion in 31-years a ‘home’ host club player has captured Scotland’s premier men’s amateur crown while Anstruther-born George Murray, and a former European Tour member, was a member of Crail in being the first club member to win the event in 2004.
Burns, 22 won at the 19th hole over Kirkhill’s Lewis Irvine despite Burns being 3-up with five holes to play and allowing his 19-year old rival back into the match at Crail before sealing victory with a par on the acclaimed Gil Hanse-designed course.
Burns had been a member at Williamwood golf club in Glasgow before moving east to St. Andrews where he attained a First Class Economics degree at St. Andrews University and also becoming a member at Crail, and golf's 7th oldest club.
Burns, and now working with the St. Andrews University golf team, also made ammends having been beaten in the 2015 Scottish Amateur at Muirfield by then good friend, Robert MacIntyre.
"It's not sunk in yet. It's crazy. My nerves are gone. It feels awesome," he said.
"It also feels like some justification for long hours of practice I've put in and the frustration I've gone through over the last couple of years.
"To now join the names on the trophy it pretty amazing and it's pretty cool to have my one alongside them including Bob MacIntyre beat me on the way to his win at Muirfield in 2015 and to win the Scottish Amateur also at my own club is pretty amazing and I cannot thank Crail enough for their support.
"The staff here at Crail have been so supportive of me and have allowed me to work on my game here for the last year as a member. It's special to get the win here in such a prestigious event and also to know that the hard work and continuous hours of practice have allowed me to prove to myself that it was worth it, I am really pleased."
The final got off to a blistering start with both Burns and Lewis birding the opening three holes before Burns went 1-up with a par on four to Lewis' bogey while Burns went 2-up with a birdie on the par-5 6th hole.
Each birdied the par-5 eighth hole and also the short par-4 10th before Lewis won 11 to go 1down but then lost the par-3 12th to a Burns birdie.
Lewis was in the rough right off the tee at the par-4 14th and while playing his second back to the edge of the fairway the teenager walked off with a half after Burns three-putted for bogey to match Lewis' bogey.
Lewis then was just 2-down in winning the par-15th and back to just 1-down with a winning par on the par-3 17th.
The Kirkhill golfer then got a great break down the right side of the par-4 18th when he tee shot clipped the top of a gorse bush and with his ball bounding back into play and leaving Lewis a clear shot to the green.
The two rivals then pared the last and with Lewis taking a bogey '6' at the first hole, or the 19th, to hand victory to Burns.
"I was playing so well. I was fairly in control of the match then had a chance to pretty much seal the deal on 14 but had one mental blip then, all of a sudden, he made a birdie at the next and anything could have happened the last couple of holes as it got a bit stressful," said Burns.
Burns's win sees him automatically qualify to make his debut in the Scotland Home Internationals side at Lahinch in September.