Adam Dunton is aiming to lift the Evening Express Champion of Champions scratch title to shed the disappointment of losing his grip on the McDonald club championship for the first time in seven years.
Sales manager Adam, 31, is the first player through to the semi-finals of the north-east’s top matchplay tournament after beating Royal Aberdeen’s Nicholas Macandrew by 3&2 at Ellon.
Plus-four handicapper Adam said: “I lost to Brad Fraser in the (McDonald club championship) semi-finals and obviously it is never a good feeling to lose.
“But Brad went on to become club champion and he played brilliantly against me … so well done to him.
“Fortunately, I have the Champion of Champions to focus on now.
“It is a trophy that has always been a target for me as it is for all the north-east’s top players.
“The format means you have to be at the top of your game throughout the season and also have a little luck to get some home draws.”
The disadvantage of an away tie at Nigg almost proved Adam’s undoing in the third round, where he prevailed at the first extra hole against Ian Welsh.
“I had never played Balnagask before,” added Adam, “and Ian never missed a fairway all the way round until the 19th, where he drove into rough at the back of the 18th tee.
“Unfortunately, he could only chip out and it ultimately cost him a bogey… and the game.”
Adam added: “I enjoyed my match against Nick as we’ve grown up playing the game together since we were teenagers.
“We were all square at the turn before I took the lead after Nick lost a ball.
“I birdied the 12th to increase my lead and went 3up by holing a 15ft putt for eagle at the 15th.
“I sealed the match 3&2 with pars at the remaining holes and was probably five-under for the 16 holes.”
Two other semi-finalists still to be decided after Insch’s James Flett seals place
Adam now awaits the winner of the quarter-final match between Andrew Ashley, of Craibstone, and Neil Thomson, of Fraserburgh.
Insch’s James Flett is also through to the last four after defeating Terry Mathieson by one hole.
James will travel to face the winner between Greg Ingram, of Inverurie, and Cruden Bay’s Stewart McCulloch for a place in the final at Newburgh on Sunday, September 12.
The Champions of Champions is again sponsored by Aberdein Considine.
EVENING EXPRESS CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS SCRATCH (SPONSORED BY ABERDEIN CONSIDINE)
ROUND FOUR RESULTS
Ferghus Milne (+1) Banchory lost to Andrew Ashley (0) Craibstone 1 hole. James Flett (2) Insch bt Scott Clarihew (+2) Turriff 1 hole. Nicholas Macandrew (+1) Royal Aberdeen bt Lewis Morgan (0) Kemnay 3&2. Terry Mathieson (+1) Meldrum House bt Anthony Bews (+2) Murcar Links at the 20th.
Adam Dunton (+2) McDonald Ellon wo, Andy Mcleod (0) Aboyne scr. Stewart McCulloch (0) Cruden Bay bt Neil Main (1) Buckpool 3&2. Greg Ingram (0) Inverurie bt David Morrison (+2) Meldrum House 2 holes. Martin Lawrence (+3) Newmachar lost to Neil Thomson (+2) Fraserburgh 5&4.
Greg Ingram (0) Inverurie v Stewart McCulloch (0) Cruden Bay.
Andrew Ashley (0) Craibstone v Neil Thomson (+2) Fraserburgh.
James Flett (2) Insch bt Terry Mathieson (+1) Meldrum House 1 hole.
Adam Dunton (+2) McDonald Ellon bt Nicholas Macandrew (+1) Royal Aberdeen 3&2.