The R&A - Working for Golf

Nairn's Scott keeps title dream alive

Nairn member Calum Scott came through extra holes on two occasions to secure his spot in the quarter finals of The 126th Amateur Championship.

Supported by local members and his older brother, Sandy, the 17-year-old won twice at the 19th hole as his dream championship challenge stayed on course on home soil.

The teenager was in full control against Hlynur Bergsson in their last-32 contest after building a five-hole lead, but the Icelander bravely fought back to take the match into overtime. Scott’s par at the 19th was enough to see him through.

Home bid

In another close afternoon tie with England’s Harley Smith, Scott again drew on the home support to win the 18th to go to sudden death. A birdie from seven feet at the 19th was greeted by cheers as he set up a last-eight match with James Ashfield.

“I can’t really believe it,” said Scott. “When everyone is cheering on my tee shot and into the green, it’s just amazing, so good. If you had said to me I would be in the quarter-finals at the start of the week I’m not sure I would have believed it. 

“I’m really tired. Thirty eight holes in one day is not easy, especially with a lot of pressure. 

“I didn’t think I was throwing it away this morning, Hlynur just made so many good putts but it was great to finish it at the 19th.

“It was tight this afternoon, very solid from us both. Harley is a great competitor and it was a good match. It was really nice to catch a birdie on the play-off hole and take another win.

“It’s good to still have two Scottish players hanging in there in the last eight. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’m really happy.”

Welsh hopes

In his first Amateur Championship, Ashfield, 20, built on his 4&3 victory over Irishman Alan Fahy with the same winning scoreline against Jack Bigham to keep the Welsh flag flying.

“It’s been good out there for me,” said Ashfield. “I feel really relaxed, even though it’s the first time I’ve played in The Amateur. I’ve played the Boys’ Amateur before, but not this championship and it’s going well so far.

“I seem to be playing well around Nairn, putting well, so I can’t complain. I won the Scottish Boys’ Open in 2019 at West Kilbride, so enjoy links golf. This has been a great week so far.”

Paterson challenge

Like Scott, John Paterson is bidding to become the first Scottish winner since Bradley Neil in 2014.

In the morning, the St Andrews player won the 18th to take his match with Rory Browne to extra holes and sealed success with a birdie at the 19th. The 21-year-old was then in control against Josef Hacker from the outset, building a three-up lead after six holes en route to a 3&2 triumph.

Paterson added: “I’ve played links golf my whole life really, so it’s been nice getting back into the swing of things after coming back from college in America (University of Colorado).

“I’ve been getting used to shots like coming out of the rough and trying to pitch it short of the pin. It’s less like target golf. It’s been a challenge, but it’s been fun, as you can be a little bit more creative and I enjoy doing that.

“I played well today. I made a lot of birdies and putts. If you can do that and limit the number of holes you give your competitor then great.

Confidence

“This morning gave me a lot of confidence going into the afternoon. I had a good finish winning 18 to take it down 19 and then birdied 19 in the wind. Being able to close that match out, knowing I can do it, is always a good thing to have in the back of my mind. 

“I’m not dreaming yet, it’s one game at a time. I’m just trying to hit the fairway on the 1st hole tomorrow morning – that’s all I’m thinking about.”

Laird Shepherd was also a 4&3 winner in his all-English last 16 meeting with Arron Edwards-Hill to book his spot in the last eight. 

Nairn, which last staged The Amateur Championship in 1994, basked in lovely weather, with less wind compared to earlier in the week.

Dyer quest

In the bottom half of the draw, Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup player Jack Dyer, 23, certainly enjoyed the conditions.

Dyer came from behind in his last 32 contest with Lewis Irvine to emerge victorious 3&2 and maintained his form with a comfortable 5&4 win over Robert Moran to end the Irish challenge.

“I had to grind hard this morning to win, which you expect at this level, but I was really happy with the way I held myself together. I played really well this afternoon and my game feels really good.

“It’s a case of taking one match at a time and see where I end up. It’s always in the back of your mind about the opportunities that come with winning this event, everyone who plays in this Championship knows that, but I’m not thinking about it at the moment. I just need to keep playing good golf.”

With the match play stage continuing to Saturday’s 36-hole final, the winner gains an exemption into The 149th Open at Royal St George’s, the US Open and, by tradition, an invitation to play in The Masters Tournament.

Past Amateur Champions include José María Olazábal, Sergio Garcia, Matteo Manassero and last year’s winner, Joe Long, who made his US Open debut at Torrey Pines today as a result of his success.

The 36-hole final round will be live broadcast on The R&A’s YouTube and Facebook accounts as well as on randa.org

Live scoring, news and video can be followed on The R&A’s website and social media platforms.