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SCOTTISH AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Graham Rankin will attempt to become the first golfer in 16 years to record successive victories when he lines up in the 1999 Johnnie Walker Scottish Amateur Championship at Cruden Bay on 26-31 July.

The Walker Cup player from Drumpellier captured last year's Championship at Prestwick when he beat Kirkcaldy's Mark Donaldson 6 and 5 in the final and will now be attempting to emulate the legendary Charlie Green who was the last player to win back-to-back titles in 1982 at Carnoustie and 1983 at Gullane.

Should Rankin succeed, it will not be the first time this season he has followed in the footsteps of Green, the former Walker Cup captain and player.

Last month Rankin won the Bone Steel Scottish Amateur Stroke Play Championship at St Andrews to achieve the honour of holding both the Scottish match play and stroke play titles at the same time.

The last player to achieve that was Green in 1983-84, although the feat had been accomplished twice before, by Duddingston's Ronnie Shade in 1967-68 and Monifieth's Ian Hutcheon in 1973-74.

Rankin will start his quest for a double triumph early on the opening morning with a tie against David Miller of Fereneze and should he progress, he could face an intriguing second round match against George Crawford of Williamwood.

The banking manager opens his account against Ayrshireman David Bruce of Ravenspart and will be hoping to progress by emulating the form which saw him capture his first national title last month when he won the Scottish Mid Amateur Championship at Haggs Castle.

Aside from Rankin only one former champion will be in action at the north venue, 1995 winner Simon Mackenzie of West Linton who is in the second quarter and will face Shetland's David Simpson in the first round.

Also in the second quarter is Mackenzie's Lothians and Scotland international teammate David Patrick who will start out against Kenneth Morrison of Old Ranfurly.

Fancied competitors in the third quarter include 1997 Amateur Champion Craig Watson, current Scotland international Graham Fox and last year's runner up Mark Donaldson, while the fourth quarter features Mark Loftus, who will make his Scotland debut in the friendly with France later this week, and Cowal's Lorne Kelly, a member of the winning four-man GB&I team in the Eisenhower Trophy in Chile last November.