With both championships played concurrently for the first time, McCoy was almost able to enjoy a lap of honour in the final round of the Senior Amateur.
Samuel, also handled the tough conditions at the renowned venue in the Scottish Highlands better than her competitors to join McCoy as Senior Women’s Amateur Champion.
Samuel is just the third Canadian winner after Alison Murdoch in 2007 and Diane Williams in 1994. McCoy is the second consecutive Iowa golfer to lift the trophy, following close friend and fellow Des Moines native Gene Elliott. The 2021 champion was on hand to spray his next door neighbour with champagne when McCoy holed out on the 18th green.
McCoy eases to triumph
McCoy began the final round with a nine-shot lead, the only player in red figures on five-under-par. He extended his lead to 12 shots after just four holes and was never in any danger of being overtaken. He had the luxury of an eight-over 78 in strong cross winds to post a three-over 283 total and win by seven shots over fellow American Lee Porter.
“Up until the end I played some of the best golf of my life in this wind,” said McCoy. “My round yesterday (one-under 69) was one of the best of my life.
“I knew I had a big lead and I was maybe protecting it a bit today. I was patient all week, which was key. I probably lost a little bit on the back nine today but I just kept my chin up. I grinded hard at the start and when I made the turn after nine I knew I had a lot (of shots) to work with.”
Inspiration to triumph
The 59-year-old, who will lead next year’s US Walker Cup team at St Andrews, credited Elliott for inspiring him to victory.
He added, “After Gene won, I definitely made it a goal this year to win this championship. I thought if I worked hard maybe it would become my turn. I worked hard over the winter, played well this Spring and was in decent form before I got here. It’s a big honour to have won this championship on such a great course, in tough conditions against such a strong field.”
Samuel won the battle of attrition that was the women’s championship in the first year The R&A staged both the senior men’s and women’s championships together on the same course.
Joint 36-hole leader with Peru’s Anna Morales, Samuel slumped to a third round 85 in the strong winds that sent scores sky rocketing. However, the 61-year-old English-born Canadian never gave up. She returned a closing three-over 75 for a 22-over 309 total to defeat 2019 champion Lara Tennant by two shots. Emma Brown from England was third.
Samuel said, “It’s unbelievable to do win on this course, in such tough conditions. I played poorly on the front nine yesterday, but today I made a great start and that helped me mentally. It made me hang in there and I just battled hard over the back nine.
“This is my biggest win in golf because I was born in the UK. I was born in Twickenham and moved to Canada with my parents when I was two months old. I used to come over every year and spend time with my grandparents in Cornwall and play amateur events over here so it feels like a home win.
“I know Diane Williams, so to get my name on the trophy with hers and become the third Canadian winner is a huge honour.”