Golf: Dunton has finger on trigger for return to Champion of Champions tourney

Adam Dunton with the Cruden Bay 4-Day trophy.

Former Scotland international Adam Dunton is out to put a bad break behind him when he starts his assault on this year’s Evening Express Champion of Champions scratch tournament.

Plus-three handicapper Adam battled back from injury after breaking a finger to clinch the Ellon McDonald club championship for a third successive season.

Adam, 27, said: “I play football for Ellon Amateurs. I normally play as a striker but the team needed a goalkeeper for a match, so I went in goals to help out.

“I saved a shot in the first five minutes and thought I’d staved my finger so I played the whole game.

“As it was still sore the next day I went to hospital and discovered I had broken it in three places, so I needed an operation.

“It was a blow as it was the start of the golfing season. I could not play for six weeks and had to pull out of my first round match against Stewart Finnie, of Caledonian, in the Champion of Champions.

“However, my first game back on the golf course was the Ellon Open where I shot 69 and won.

“I’m looking forward to the Champion of Champions after missing out last year.

“To win the tournament has always been a goal of mine but I realise it is not an easy tournament to clinch.

“I’ll just take every match as it comes and obviously will hope for a few home ties.”

Adam, who admits his biggest thrill came when winning three out of his four matches for Scotland in the Home Internationals at Southerdown Golf Club in Wales in 2014, was made to dig deep to beat Greg Reid in the Ellon final last season.

He said: “I was one down after the morning round so I knew I needed a good front nine during the second round.

“I carded a blemish-free five-under-par 32 to take a three-shot lead at the turn.

“However, Greg fought back well and birdied the 16th to reduce my advantage to one hole before we halved the 17th.

“Greg hit a great shot around the trees at the 18th and made par, which was sufficient to take the match into extra holes.

“At the first-extra hole, Greg missed a birdie chance to win it and my par at the 38th hole was good enough to secure the title. It was a great match to be involved in.”

Adam, who has twice carded a course record of nine-under 61 at Ellon McDonald, proved that playing away from home was no burden when triumphing in the rain-hampered Cruden Bay 4-Day open.

“I qualified for the matchplay stages after finishing second after two rounds of strokeplay,” he said.

“The matchplay stages were called off after the rain flooded and forced closure of the course on the Thursday and it was condensed to 36 holes of strokeplay on the Friday.

“I carded a three-under-par 67 in the first round and led home player Laurie Phillips by one shot.

“In the afternoon, I started bogey five, bogey five in windy conditions but found the patience to keep playing steady golf and eventually added a one-over 71 to beat Laurie by two shots.”

Adam’s season culminated in helping the North-east District capture the Scottish Area Team Championships after defeating Lothians 3.5-1.5 in the final at Newmachar in September.

“Winning the Scottish Area Team Championships was the perfect way to end the year,” added Adam.

“I was delighted to get the winning point on the 19th hole.

“It’s always good to play in the championships at the end of the year as you test yourself against the best in the country.

“As far as this year is concerned, I’m not sure yet if I will play in any national events but I will be playing as many district events as I can.”

Adam reached the quarter-finals of the Scottish Amateur at Western Gailes in 2011 and the last 32 of the British Amateur at Royal Cinque in 2013, although he hails his win at the Southern Chalice in Dumfries his biggest success as he had to prevail to make the Scotland Home International team in 2014.