The R&A - Working for Golf

Bigham and Fantinelli into Boys' Final

Riccardo Fantinelli of Italy and Jack Bigham of England will go head-to-head in the 36-hole Final of the R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports tomorrow. 

Fantinelli booked his place thanks to a third extra hole victory in the semi-final over Scotland’s Niall Shiels Donegan, winning the match on the 21st hole with a birdie four on the par 5 3rd

Italian shows his strength

The 17-year-old Italian, who is based in London after moving over to the United Kingdom three years ago, came out on top of the marathon tussle with the American based Scot and had to go extra holes for the second time today after his win over Andrew Haswell on the first extra hole in this morning’s quarter-final. 

‘’I just know this course inside out by now. It has been really tiring but 100 per cent worthwhile and I am really looking forward to tomorrow’’.

After finishing runner up at the Carris Trophy in July, the Italian is looking to go one better in tomorrow’s final.

‘’Yes, unfortunately due to Covid-19 I haven’t played much abroad, but I played well in the Carris, and unfortunately I didn’t win. I bottled it in the last round and hopefully that doesn’t happen tomorrow’’.

Defying his own expectations, the Italian only booked accommodation until today’s matches which is now a problem that he is more than happy to solve.

‘’I have actually got to find a bed first, I didn’t book the hotel this far. I will find a solution I am sure’’. 

Leader looking one to stop

Jack Bigham once again proved he is the man to beat at the Boys’ Amateur after a commanding 6&5 victory over Scotland’s Daniel Bullen to book his place in Sunday’s final.

Based at Harpenden Golf Club, Bigham once again had another day to remember after wrapping up his semi-final showdown with five holes still to play.

Despite losing the first hole, Bigham took early control with an impressive eagle on the third, with his opponent’s birdie proving not to be enough to claim at least a halve on that occasion.

A birdie two holes later, followed by a succession of pars for the rest of the match was good enough for the leading qualifier to claim a spot in tomorrow’s final.

’Yes, it was really good. The first few holes, he went one up on the second, and then I eagled the third and won the fourth and the fifth as well to go two up. After that, I just ended with pars coming in and  played solid again’’, said Bigham. 

Toughest test yet

Earlier in the day, he overcame arguably his toughest challenge of the championship so far, defeating Scotland’s Cameron Adam 3&2 in his quarter final match.

’’Yes, that was a really good game, I think the majority of the holes were won with birdies. Cameron is a great player and I managed to win the last three holes to win but it was a great match’’, said Bigham.

That winning feeling

Yet to experience that winning feeling, Bigham will bid to join fellow countryman Conor Gough as a Boys’ Amateur champion after the latter’s victory at Royal Portrush in 2018.

‘’I have been playing well all year and this has just been great. I have been playing well every single match and I’m over the moon really’’.

He continued, ‘’It would mean a lot, I haven’t had a win yet so to win round here in one of my last junior events, it would mean a lot to me’’.

Niall Shiels Donegan was this year’s Peter Garner Bowl winner after being the player under 17 to progress the furthest in the championship having reached the semi-finals, where he also received a silver medal.

It will be a case of England will once again battling against Italy this summer in tomorrow’s final which kicks off at 8.30am and contested over 36 holes. 

Semi-final results