Macpherson chasing 'dream' ticket in final of 'best' Amateur

Bryden MacphersonBryden Macpherson of Australia will face Scotland’s Michael Stewart in the final of the 2011 Amateur Championship, tomorrow at Hillside Golf Club. At stake is the Amateur Championship Trophy, a place in The Open Championship at Royal St George’s and an invitation to the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National.

This afternoon, Melbourne’s Macpherson, whose grandfather competed against Doug Bachli, the last Australian to win the Amateur, in 1954, completed a commanding semi-final 4&3 victory over Greg Paterson of Scotland, in which he did not lose a hole. Earlier in the day, Macpherson had defeated Spaniard Antonio Hortal 2&1 in the third quarter-final.

“I’m very happy! It was really tough today…but patience has been the key. I’ve stuck to my plan, kept doing what I do and trying not to force it,” he said. “This is my third Amateur Championship, and I would not miss this event for anything in the world. It’s the best amateur event there is. You can’t ignore the history of The R&A.”

And while the 20-year-old is aware of the rewards on offer to tomorrow’s champion, he will not be burdened by any thoughts of Sandwich or Magnolia Lane.

Bryden Macpherson“The Open is my dream tournament. As the title suggests it’s The Open, and if I could choose to win just one event in my life, I’d choose that one. But I won’t be thinking about that tomorrow.”

Defeated Paterson, who is a member of St Andrews’ New Club, said: “I’m disappointed, but it’s been a great week, and a slightly unexpected one given my recent form.”

After defeating England’s Tom Lewis 4&3 in his morning quarter-final, 21-year-old Scot Michael Stewart was never down in his semi-final against Sebastian Gros, building a five-hole lead by the turn thanks to four consecutive wins from the fifth hole to the eighth, before closing out the match 5&4.

“I made three bogeys all day, so when you’re on or around par on this course, in these conditions, you’ll be fine,” explained Stewart, a member of the 2011 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup squad.

Michael Stewart“If I just keep doing what I’m doing, I’m confident that I’ll be fine. People ask me what it is about match play that I like so much, and I can’t answer them. I just seem to play well when it’s one on one. I know Bryden; he’s a very good player, so it should be a great match.

Stewart, who was, until recently, hampered by a wrist injury that caused him to miss May’s Walker Cup trial match, now finds himself 36-holes away from two Major Championship opportunities, which he admitted would be “life-changing”.

“I’ll think about what’s at stake tonight. You’re obviously aware of how close you are, but, on the first tee tomorrow, it’ll be out of my mind. This is the big one, this is the target; it’s been a long time coming.”

Beaten semi-finalist Gros said: “I am disappointed and in a few days I will realise that I have done well here this week. It’s been a great experience for me, to perform to this level at the Amateur Championship, so I am very proud. I would like to congratulate Michael on his performance today, he didn’t make any mistakes.”

Tomorrow’s final will begin at 8.30am, with the second 18 holes due to commence at 1.00pm. Live scores will be available on RandA.org, as will live text coverage, which will be published on Twitter.com/TheAmateurLive.