Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson is a step closer to successfully defending his Boys Amateur Championship title after defeating England’s Matthew Jordan at Prestwick Golf Club on Thursday.
The 18-year-old from Bearsden advances to the third round after overcoming a two hole deficit early on in the match when he bogeyed four of the first six holes.
“I got off to a pretty slow start and was two down after six, said Ferguson. “He (Jordan) had a putt to go three up so I thought to myself I need to keep hitting fairways and keep making pars and let him make mistakes but he didn’t. I had to win holes with birdies. He is a really good player.”
With Ferguson leading by one after Jordan dropped shots on the 7th, 10th and 11th holes, the Englishman answered back with a birdie on the par four 13th to square the match. On 16, Ferguson chipped from 20 yards to a few inches from the hole and when Jordan failed to hole his putt from the fringe Ferguson regained the lead.
On the 17th, both players found the rough on the right from the tee. Jordan found the green with his second shot but Ferguson’s approach came up short in the famous Sahara bunker short of the green. From close to the face the Scot played a wonderful bunker shot to two feet and Jordan missed his 12 foot putt and the hole was halved.
Both players reached the green from the tee on the 18th. Jordan missed a 20 footer for eagle but Ferguson holed an eight foot putt from the fringe for an eagle to win the match by 2 holes.
“There is a lot of pressure on me being defending champion and people expect me to win. Down the stretch under the real pressure I handled it really well and an eagle at the last to win was just amazing.”
Ferguson is aiming to become the first player since 1930 to win successive Boys Amateur titles and is feeling confident about his game as he moves into the last 32.
“Last year I seemed to get better as the week went on, getting to know the course and the nooks and crannies, getting to know where to miss and where not to miss. I have been hitting it well for a while now so I am just going to try to hit the best shot I can on each shot and if it is enough to win it then it is enough to win it but then fair play to whoever beats me.”
Other Scots advancing include Christopher Curran and Calum Fyfe who shared the lead after the qualifying stroke play at Prestwick and Dundonald Links. Both players needed extra holes to secure their places in round three; Curran fended off a charging Teodoro Soldati and won on the 20th while Fyfe managed to edge out Frenchman Clement Charmasson on the first extra hole.
Curran had a four-hole advantage over Soldati by the 9th hole but the Italian found his stride after the turn with a string of birdies down the stretch.
“I bogeyed ten and was back to 3 up but then he just had the momentum,” said Curran. “He made three birdies in a row and holed a twenty-footer on the last to take it into extra holes. He’s a good player so I just had to go for it and try and beat him.”
After the pair halved the first extra hole, Soldati pulled his approach shot well left of the target on the 20th. When Curran placed his ball eight feet from the pin, Soldati conceded the match.
Also through is Italy’s Guido Migliozzi, who is the field’s highest ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™. The 2014 European Nations Cup individual winner and world number 87 defeated England’s Kelsey March by 2&1.
“I played very well with the wind and I had the match under control. I enjoy playing links golf here but I prefer parkland courses. There are many bunkers here, and I hate bunkers,” he laughed. “I hope I can continue to play great golf tomorrow like I did today.”
Other players set to start in the last 32 include Irish Boys Open Amateur Champion Bradley Moore of England, who lost in the semi-finals to Ferguson in 2013, and Norway’s Kristoffer Reitan, the 2012 and 2013 Suzann Junior Challenge winner. Moore birdied three of his last four holes to beat compatriot Oliver Farrell by one hole, while Reitan had an easier time of it, sending Scotland’s Will Porter home in a 5&4 victory.
The third round will commence at 7:30 am tomorrow with the last 16 set to begin at 1:10pm. The Quarter Finals and Semi Finals will be played on Saturday and the 36-hole final will be played over morning and afternoon sessions on Sunday. Parking and admission is free for spectators.