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Hume retracing his steps to find success

He couldn't, could he?

Barry Hume was able to produce a compelling performance against Connor Syme to emerge from the last eight at Downfield. Picture: Kenny Smith
Barry Hume was able to produce a compelling performance against Connor Syme to emerge from the last eight at Downfield. Picture: Kenny Smith

It is 13 years since Barry Hume dominated at Downfield to win the Scottish Amateur Championship. Here in 2014, he's at it again. Rolling back the years, strolling down memory lane, turning back the clock? You name it, Hume seems to be doing it as he continues to prosper in this happiest of hunting grounds.

"I've dug into the archives and pulled out a real performance," said Hume with the relish of an excited librarian leafing through some dusty old manuscripts. A classy 4 and 3 victory over Connor Syme in the last 16 yesterday eased the reinstated amateur into the quarter-finals and kept alive his hopes of knocking off an astonishing title triumph that would raise more eyebrows than a Hollywood plastic surgeon.

"If I was to win this, it would be a big shock to everyone," said Hume, who was five-under for the 15 holes it took him to swat aside Syme. "It's not in my thoughts but this is now the business end of the tournament and this was my best performance of the week so far. I'm just enjoying the journey."

It was a highly-polished and purposeful performance from Hume, who rarely competes in the 72-hole events these days but is revelling in the man-to-man combat of the matchplay format this week.

Syme had reached the semi-finals of June's Amateur Championship at Portrush, but Hume's competitive instinct, experience and undoubted talent gave him the edge. Short-sided in the greenside bunker on the eighth, Hume clattered the flag with his dink out of the sand and trundled in a tricky 10-footer down the hill to take a crucial two-hole advantage around the turn.

"That gave me a big boost," added Hume, who will face Euan Walker of Barassie in this morning's last-eight ties. "I established early on that Connor was a very good player but I made him work for everything and exerted pressure at the right time."

On a calm, pleasant day in Dundee, the birdies and eagles flew in wild abandon as the remaining combatants went on the offensive. Grant Forrest, the Scottish champion in 2012, and Craig Ross racked up 11 birdies and two eagles between them over the last 11 holes of a tight tussle which Forrest would eventually win by a 2 and 1 margin. There was a little sense of revenge for the Craigielaw youngster, too. "Craig beat me 7 and 6 when I was defending the Scottish Boys' title in 2011," recalled Forrest, who is the reigning St Andrews Links Trophy champion.

Graeme Robertson was seven-under for his last six holes as he overcame Matthew Clark 4 and 2 to set up a joust with Forrest, while Jack McDonald, a semi-finalist in the 2012 Amateur Championship, and Cameron Buist produced a high-­quality affair which would eventually be won by the former on the last green.

From the 11th hole, McDonald conjured three birdies and an eagle and still found himself all-square. His 12-year-old brother Ross, who is pushing his older sibling's trolley this week, must have enjoyed the spec­tacle. "This keeps him out of trouble," said McDonald, whose grandfather, Gordon Cosh, won the Scottish Amateur crown in 1968.

Awaiting the McDonald alliance in the quarter-finals is Chris Robb, who continued his impressive march through the field with a 5 and 4 win over Ben Ferguson. In his five ties so far this week, a rampaging Robb has not been taken beyond the 15th hole. "I don't want to find out what they are like until the final," he said with a smile of anticipation.

In the first quarter of the draw, Bradley Neil, who overcame his Blairgowrie club mate Glenn Campbell in the morning's fourth round, stayed on course to add the Scottish title to the Amateur crown he won in June with a 4 and 3 victory over Williamwood's Fraser Davren illuminated by a brace of eagles at the 11th and 13th. Next up for the No.1 seed is a tussle with Josh Jamieson of St Andrews, who beat Kyle McClung by 2 and 1.

Jamieson, a former Scottish Boys' Strokeplay champion, is a student at Northwestern University in Chicago, the alma mater of former world No.1 Luke Donald. "He's always there practising," said Jamieson. "You only need to watch his short game to learn something."

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