Mathew Clark has always been a true amateur, juggling the nine to five of full-time employment with competitive action in the unpaid ranks.

Yesterday, he took another step to securing one of the game’s most cherished prizes as he moved in to the semi-finals of the Scottish Amateur Championship at Crail.

Having booked a last-eight place with a 3&2 win over Broomieknowe’s Sean Marc in the morning, Kilmacolm man Clark emerged victorious from an absorbing tussle with the 2008 champion Callum Macaulay and claimed a narrow one hole victory.

The ding dong battle was of a terrific standard with Clark and former European Tour player Macaulay trading 12 birdies and an eagle between them.

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In the end, it was former Scottish Mid-Amateur champion Clark who was left standing.

“Callum is someone I used to look up to back when he was in the amateur ranks in 2007 and 2008,” said the former Scotland captain.

“It was an honour to play with him and to win was fantastic. It was a good match and most importantly played in the right spirit.”

Clark now faces a testing encounter with Kirkhill’s Lewis Irvine who was a 3&2 winner over Lachlan Reynolds.

“You don’t come here to finish second, third or fourth,” added Clark.

“Lewis will be a tough opponent, he’s playing well I expect it to be really difficult. But I’m not going out to lose.”

Elsewhere on day four, Darren Howie of Peebles booked his last four berth with a spirited one hole victory over John Paterson.

Howie, the brother of former Scottish Boys’ champion Craig, fell behind at the first and had to battle to stay in the match until he levelled things up with a birdie on the 15th.

The Borderer then took the lead for the first time with a par on the 17th and closed out the victory with another par on 18.

It was Howie’s second last green victory of the day, having earlier beaten Louis Dobbelaar in the last-16 by the same margin.

Howie will square up to Crail member George Burns who kept alive the hopes of a home winner this week.

Burns edged out Cupar’s Marcus Rickard on the last in a close match.