He can emulate Sir Michael Bonallack by winning The Amateur and Lytham Trophy in the same year. Only Bonallack has achieved that feat. “I’m hoping to become the second,” Gough said.
Bonallack won the inaugural 1965 Lytham Trophy, and then triumphed in that year’s Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl, the second of five Amateur titles he owns. Only two other players have won both titles. Peter McEvoy won consecutive Amateur Championships in 1977 and 1978, and the Lytham Trophy the following year. Stuart Wilson triumphed at Lytham in 2003 before winning the 2004 Amateur at St Andrews.
Gough can upstage all three, given he can win both titles at Royal Lytham following his one-shot win in this year’s Lytham Trophy.
“Lytham is my favourite win so far because it’s such a big tournament on a great golf course,” said the Beaconsfield Golf Club member, who won the Spanish Amateur in March. He is also reigning English Amateur champion, and won the Palmetto Amateur last year after graduating from the University of South Carolina. “It’s the strongest ranked stroke play tournament that I’ve won, and the confidence I have from beating such a strong field is huge.”
The England international isn’t the only Gough on the English Amateur roll of winners. He succeeded young brother Conor as English champion.
“We’ve always competed hard against each other,” he added. “It’s been important for my development, and for his. We like to try to upstage each other and that has driven us both to be the very best we can be.”
While Gough won’t take anything for granted when he turns up at the 11-time Open venue, his Lytham win has him prepared for the challenge of joining Bonallack in the history books.
“I’m very confident,” said the player sitting 50th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking®. “I’m not making a lot of mistakes right now. I’m avoiding double bogeys, keeping the ball in play and if I putt well I feel I have a very good chance of winning every tournament I play in.
“With a win comes a lot of confidence and expectations, and I just have the right mind set before every tournament. I’m ready to go out to win every tournament I play, but I fully expect Lytham to play totally different in The Amateur
“The Amateur will be a fresh start, a stronger field, but I have the same chance as everyone else. I know the key to playing well around there. Every tee shot is important because you have to be in play and avoid the bunkers. There are plenty of them and they are very penal. I managed to do that well in the Lytham Trophy, and that was one of the keys to my win.”
Gough should be a factor in this year’s Amateur because of another impressive record:
“I’m currently 21 matches unbeaten going back to last year’s English Amateur, going through the Home Internationals, a France match and the Spanish Amateur. I hope to keep the streak going.”
He’ll join in a very select amateur golf club if he does.