May 13 2011 by Mike WIlson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
ROYAL Troon’s Michael Smyth is the Ayrshire matchplay champion for the first time.
He beat Gary Bryden of Girvan 4&3 in the final at Troon Portland last Thursday evening.
Smyth, who had been beaten in a play-off for the strokeplay title two weeks earlier, raced ahead at the second but Bryden battled back at the eighth.
Smyth regained the lead at the ninth and clinched the 11th and 12th to take a three hole lead with six to play.
Smyth conceded the 13th but took the 14th and 15th to close out the final.
First round: Alex Gourlay (Irvine) beat Jamie Mackay (Kilmarnock Barassie) 2&1; Euan Brown (Kilmarnock Barassie) beat Tommy McInally (Loudoun) 5&4; Gary Bryden (Girvan) beat Stephen Spence (Irvine) at the 19th; Michael Smyth (Royal Troon) beat Colin Gray (Irvine) 6&5; Keith Hamilton (Belleisle) beat Malcolm Pennycott (Whiting Bay) 3&1; Marc Smith (Welbeck) beat John Haggarty (Loudoun) 4&2; David Wilson (Welbeck) beat David McLellan (Largs) at the 19th.
Quarter-finals: Bryden beat Brown 6&4; Murray beat Gourlay 6&5; Smyth beat Hamilton 3&2; Smith beat Wilson 5&4. Semi-finals: Smyth beat Smith at 18th; Bryden beat Murray at 18th.
lAYRSHIRE launch their bid for the Scottish Area Team championships at Prestwick and Prestwick St Nicholas this weekend.
The team includes a trio of Kilmarnock Barassie players, the new Ayrshire strokeplay champion Jamie Mackay, 2010 Ayrshire matchplay winner Euan Brown and boys internationalist Jack McDonald.
Also in the side bidding to go one step further than their semi final appearance last year are Michael Smyth (Royal Troon) and John Haggarty (Loudoun).
Gary Bryden (Girvan) replaces Scottish and South African champion Michael Stewart who has withdrawn due to a wrist injury.
Strokeplay qualifying rounds take place over both courses on Saturday with the top four of the 16 areas qualifying to contest the matchplay stages at Prestwick GC on Sunday.
lALASDAIR BERRY of Irvine Ravenspark is in the Scotland team for the Disabled World Team Championship at Westerwood from July 14 to 18.
The event will be played in a Ryder Cup format with each team consisting of 12 players. Competitors include Scotland, England, a Celtic team and a world team.
lDEFENDING champions Scott McCahill and David Wallace had an epic battle to stake their place in the second round of the Ayrshire Fourball Championship.
They went to the eighth extra hole before beating John Young and George Mills of New Cumnock.
They now travel to face Billy Pollock and Sandy Riddell (Skelmorlie) who beat Ricky Tait and Allan Smeeton (The Chase) 6&5.
Craig Gilmour and Alex Watson of Kilmarnock Barassie beat Kevin McGhee and Callum Weir at Muirkirk and now face a trip to play the winner of the tie between James Graham and Marc Wallace (Doon Valley) and Derek Brown and David Low (Ayr Belleisle).
Kevin McCormack and Robert Payne of Ardeer entertain either David Muir and Craig Young (Loudoun) or Alex Cairns and Michael Hedberg (Largs Routenburn) after beating Philip Pierotti and David Hannah (Drongan) at the 21st.
Frank Fulton and Stevie Corrigan (Ayr Dalmilling) won at the 19th at Girvan against Alan Gaff and Alan Copeland. They now head to the winner of Davy Taylor and Grant Wilson (Ayr Seafield) against John Bechett and Graham Armstrong (Moorpark).
Frank Henderson and Walter Meiklam of Troon Welbeck booked their second round place with a 7&6 win over Patrick Clark and James Paterson (Braehead). They now host either Steven Tait and Scott McCabe (Crosshouse) or Iain MacDonald and David MacDonald (Largs).
lTROON'S Alan Gibson was the leading Scottish-based PGA professional in the Titleist PGA assistant of the year awards.
The 30-year-old, based at Troon Municipal, finished joint sixth out of more than 250 of his peers who have completed the three-year PGA Foundation Degree.
Gibson received a cheque for £850 from Titleist director of sales Ken Graham and PGA captain Eddie Bullock at the PGA Graduation ceremony at the University of Birmingham.