Late call-up leads to historic golf title

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A KIRKCALDY school teacher was the surprise hero as Fife golfers made history in Prestwick over the weekend.

The Fife team edged out defending champions North East in a thrilling final to win the Moneygate Scottish Area Team Championship for the first time in the event’s 34-year history.

Kevin Blyth, a PE teacher at St.Andrew’s High School, was not named in the original six-man squad and was expecting to take his classes as normal last Friday, only to be woken at 7 a.m by a phonecall from Fife team manager Bill Dickson.

One of Fife’s key players – Scottish internationalist Greg Paterson – had pulled out with flu and an SOS was sent out to Kevin to step-in as an eleventh-hour replacement, which he was able to do after hastily arranging a day off work.

Mad rush

Kevin told SportsPress: “Luckily all the seniors were away for study leave and the third years were out on work experience so I only had two classes that were half full, which made it easier to get them covered and I managed to get away.

“It was a bit of a mad rush just throwing everything into my bag, and when I got down to Prestwick I realised I’d left my suit up here. I even managed to get there before some of the guys who were originally on the team! I was both shocked and delighted to get the call, but it was good to see that I can play at that level and compete.”

Kevin, a member of Lundin Links, took part in practice rounds on Friday before playing a key role in Fife’s stunning weekend victory.

He scored key points in the strokeplay qualifying rounds on Saturday as Fife finished third, thus qualifying for the semi-final, where they met 13-times winners Lothians.

Kevin teamed with last year’s East of Scotland Open champion, Peter Latimer, for the foursomes in both semi-final and final, and each time the pair recovered from a losing position to claim key winning points for their team, helping to end Fife’s long wait for silverware.

Kevin added: “All the Fife officials were elated.

“It meant a lot to the players but it probably meant just as much to them because a lot of them have been on the Fife committee for a long time, and although they’ve had some good teams, they’ve never seen Fife win. It was great to win it for them as much as it was for ourselves.”

Strong teams

Jim Scott, secretary of the Fife Golf Association, added: “We’ve had so many strong teams over the years but never really managed to come up with the goods.

“As one of the bigger areas in Scotland it was always both surprising and disappointing that Fife had never won the Area Team championship.

“So the win at Prestwick at the weekend was particularly welcome and all the players and officials that were there were extremely pleased to have won it.”

Jim also paid tribute to the role played by the Kirkcaldy call-up.

“Kevin is a regular in the Fife men’s squad but it’s extremely competitive trying to get into the six-man team,” he said.

“Fife has four senior internationalists so Kevin has found himself just on the fringes, but he performed excellently over the weekend. He may be one of the lesser lights as far as big names in Scottish golf is concerned, but he made a big contribution to the Fife win.”