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Campbell in tune for his duel with the No.1 seed

If Bradley Neil is the current poster boy for Scottish amateur golf, then Glenn Campbell is its rhinestone cowboy.

Veteran Glenn Campbell en route  to victory over  Nick Macandrew  in the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship  at  Downfield.  Picture: Kenny Smith
Veteran Glenn Campbell en route to victory over Nick Macandrew in the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship at Downfield. Picture: Kenny Smith

He's probably sick to the back teeth of these ropey references to the country crooner - it's a different spelling for a start - but this seasoned campaigner has been on song at Downfield in this week's Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship. Next up on the hit parade?

"Just a game with some wee upstart frae Blairgowrie," he said with a smile after easing into the last 32 with a two-hole victory over Royal Aberdeen's Nick Macandrew. The particular upstart in question is the aforementioned Neil, the reigning Amateur champion, the No.1 seed here and a fellow member at Blairgowrie. Downfield is not quite the OK Corral, but this duel promises to be a blazing shoot-out.

Campbell is the wily old gunslinger who has seen it all before at this level. Almost a decade ago, the 41-year-old greenkeeper won the Scottish Championship at Southerness and became the standard bearer for the Blairgowrie club on the amateur front. Neil's emergence on the scene has probably dunted a few of Campbell's pictures off the clubhouse wall of fame, but the former Scotland cap is relishing the opportunity to go head-to-head with the new kid on the golfing block.

"I'm actually 1-0 up on him, as I beat him in the county championship back in 2010," reported Campbell, who just makes guest appearances on the domestic circuit these days due to work and family commitments. "I saw Bradley's potential when he was 10 or 11. He's worked very hard and he's reaping the rewards now."

Campbell suggested that Neil, who beat Michael Bacigalupo 5 and 3, will probably clatter a drive some 60 or 70 yards ahead of him. "But I can get on to the green first," he added. "It's not all about big, booming batters in this game of nip-and-tuck."

As the Perthshire pair chatted away in a joint blether with the assembled scribblers, Campbell made sure he seized the early bragging rights. On the par-5 11th hole in his match with Bacigalupo, Neil had knocked a gap wedge into the green for his second shot. Campbell, meanwhile, unleashed a 6-iron for his approach in his tie with Macandrew.

"What did you make?" asked Campbell of his teenage rival. "I  birdied it," responded Neil. "I eagled it," retorted Campbell swiftly. You half expected him to deliver the triumphant 'get it right roon' ye' gesture favoured by buoyant booler Alex Marshall. He might keep it until the end of hostilities this morning.

The winner of the Campbell-Neil clash could face a testing tussle with Stewart Smith, five-times Downfield club champion, who continued his purposeful progress with a 4 and 3 win over Angus Carrick. Smith will now square up to the Williamwood teenager Fraser Davren, who thwarted the ambitions of another Blairgowrie member, Wayne Crole, with a 19th-hole victory.

One man also making decent strides is the Aberdonian Chris Robb. The 23-year-old has certainly been in form on the strokeplay stage with an eight-shot victory in the East of Scotland Open and a four-shot win in the Cameron Corbett Vase in recent weeks. He has carried that momentum into the matchplay format and a 5 and 4 win over James Wilson set up a tasty tie with Ben Kinsley, the beaten finalist in April's Scottish Boys' Championship.

"I usually get pumped in the first round so this is a nice change," admitted Robb. "I'd never really found a right way to approach matchplay. I used to get too fussed about what my opponent was doing, but now I'm just focusing on my own game."

Alexander Culverwell, the reigning national champion, emerged from a "scrappy" tussle against Greig Marchbank with a one-hole win. As he bids to become the first player to retain the title since Charlie Green in 1983, there seems to be a certain familiarity to proceedings.

"There's a feeling of déjà vu," said Culverwell. "I played Greig at a similar stage last year and now I'm ­playing Kyle McClung, who I also played a year ago."

Jack McDonald, last year's Scottish amateur No.1, swept to a 7 and 6 win over Greig Kennedy, while Barry Hume, the Scottish champion at Downfield in 2001, continued to plot a path through the field with a 3 and 2 defeat of Anthony Blaney.

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