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It's that time for a man who shines but once a year

On the first day of August, Graeme Robertson put in an august performance as he eased into the final of the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship at Downfield.

Graeme Robertson clouts a clump of turf down the fairway on his way to qualifying for the final. Picture: Kenny Smith
Graeme Robertson clouts a clump of turf down the fairway on his way to qualifying for the final. Picture: Kenny Smith

It has taken a while to come along, but, like Santa tumbling down the lum, the Glenbervie man has finally made his presence felt with his annual appearance at a big occasion.

"I tend to have one big result every year," said Robertson at the end of a day in which he beat two former national champions in Grant Forrest and Barry Hume on his way to a 36-hole showdown with Chris Robb. "In 2010 and 2011, I did well in the Scottish Strokeplay. In 2012, I was third in the Links Trophy and last year I lost in a play-off at the Irish Open. Time was running out this season and I was waiting on something like this happening for me."

A spirited, extra-hole triumph over the 2012 champion Forrest in the morning's quarter-finals illustrated his resolve as he battled back from two down with four to play before winning on the 22nd hole of a titanic tussle.

Waiting impatiently in the clubhouse for that match to finish was Hume, the 2001 Scottish champion, who had put together another polished performance in beating Euan Walker 6 and 5 in the last eight.

Robertson would prove to be a match too far as Hume met his match. It didn't help that he handed his ­opponent the first two holes with costly bogeys. Hume trundled in a raking 40-footer for birdie on the third to salvage a half but the momentum was with Robertson. By the 13th, Hume needed to hole a 30-footer for eagle just to keep the match alive but a birdie on the next, which took rampant Robertson to seven under for the afternoon, put the tin lid on a dominant 6 and 4 win.

It is somewhat ironic that, in the year when he has taken a step back from the frontline of the amateur scene, Robertson is prospering. "I decided against turning pro last year and needed to get a job," said the 26-year-old, who earns his corn with shifts as a caddie at Gleneagles.

"I had a bursary from Stirling University and was pretty spoiled to honest. You don't realise how good it is until it's gone."

Robb will be the first to admit that the matchplay format is not his preferred mode of golfing combat. The pendulous, unpredictable nature of these head-to-head skirmishes can easily hit you where it hurts and Robb knows all about damaging dunts from out of the blue.

In the semi-finals of the 2009 ­Scottish Boys' Championship, for instance, he watched his opponent, David Law, hole a hopeful swipe out of the greenside rough on the 18th to win the tie in spectacular ­fashion. "I still remember that as if it was yesterday and it was one of those traumatic matchplay moments," he said with a grimace.

Robb, who played against future PGA Tour winners Jordan Spieth and Harris English during his time at college in the US, seems to be finding a fondness for this purest form of the Royal & Ancient game, though. His rampaging run through the field yesterday continued in the morning's quarter-finals against Jack McDonald where he covered his last five holes in birdie, eagle, par, birdie, birdie to win 3 and 1.

He carried that form into his semi-final duel with Josh Jamieson, the conqueror of top seed Bradley Neil, and a putt of 30-feet for birdie on the first set him on the way to a 4 and 3 triumph. "I don't have a great matchplay history," added Robb, who has notched up sizeable strokeplay wins in the East of Scotland Open and the Cameron Corbett Vase this summer. "But I've just taken my score down on every hole like you would in a strokeplay event and that approach seems to have helped."

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