Portugal’s Pedro Lencart defeated defending champion Falko Hanisch 5&4 to win the 91st Boys Amateur Championship at Nairn on Sunday.
Lencart, who won The R&A’s Junior Open in 2016, becomes the first player since Sergio Garcia to win both titles. He will now play in the 123rd Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links, and gains an exemption into Final Qualifying for The 147th Open as a result of his victory.
The 17-year-old teed off for the second round of the final 6up over Hanisch after a blistering opening 18 holes that included nine birdies. Hanisch, who lifted the trophy at Muirfield in 2016, struggled to deal with Lencart and faced an uphill battle if he was to become the first player since 1930 to win back-to-back championships.
The German did not give up easily, however and threatened to stage a comeback when he reduced the deficit immediately with a birdie at the 19th. Lencart returned to 6up after his opponent conceded the 21st and went further ahead on the following hole thanks to a birdie on the short par 3.
At 7up, the growing crowd sensed victory was close but Hanisch had other ideas and responded with a birdie at the 23rd hole. At the 27th, an unlikely bogey by Lencart gave the defending champion a much-needed boost. The pair matched each other at the next but wins for the German on the 29th and 30th, where Lencart found the thick gorse twice, saw him cut the lead to just three holes with 6 holes to play.
The comeback was on as the finalists approached the 31st tee but Lencart regained his composure quickly and moved 4up with another excellent display of putting. When he dropped his tee shot on the right side of the green at the 32nd and Hanisch found the left-hand rough the pendulum swung back in his favour. Lencart did not hesitate from there and holed out from 6ft to seal an impressive 5&4 victory.
“I’m really happy. It has been a long week. It was really tough on these courses and in this weather but I am really happy with the way I handled it,” said Lencart.
“It was a good start. I played really well, especially on the back nine. I made a lot of birdies – it was good to start like that because Falko played well the second 18. It was tough to keep tying holes and keep staying at that level.
On winning both the Junior Open and the Boys Amateur Championship, Lencart said,“I like these types of courses, I like playing here. It’s two tournaments on links courses, although this one is a bit different to Kilmarnock (Barassie), but it’s nice to have won both.”
Hanisch congratulated his successor, saying, “I’m not sad – He played really good. In good moments, he made birdies. I had a good comeback on the third nine holes but unfortunately for me he just played too good today.
“We talked a lot to each other. He’s a cool guy. It didn’t feel like it was a final where you couldn’t talk to your opponent – it was a cool round of golf. So, it was good atmosphere.”