Won last year by Dubai-based Indian Rayhan Thomas, the Scottish Boys’ Open Stroke-Play Championship is back in home hands. Step forward John Paterson, who made two timely eagles in a round for the first time in his life to claim the title at Monifieth Links.
The 17-year-old, who is originally from Killearn before moving to St Andrews after his father retired, came from five shots behind heading into the final round to win by two shots - a closing 67 saw him finish as the only player in red figures on one-under 283 - after Jamie Stewart let a winning position slip after signing off with a 74.
Paterson, a sixth-year pupil at Madras College, eagled the first and eighth, recording 2s on each occasion, to make his presence felt as the event reached the business end before giving himself a great chance of a third one by hitting a 6-iron approach to five feet at the par-5 18th.
The scratch player thought his hopes of victory had gone when he was unable to convert that opportunity, but little did he know that Stewart had started to wobble in the final group. The 17-year-old from Old Ranfurly had bogeyed the 12th and 13th, meaning he came to the last needing a birdie to force a play-off. Unfortunately for Stewart, his tee shot found a bunker, from where he could only advance it 50 yards up the fairway. His third shot then went through the back and his chip to force a play-off never threatened the hole.
“That feels pretty good,” said Paterson of his Good Friday, one that he confessed was somewhat unexpected. “All I was thinking about as I headed out for the final round was posting a score to give Jamie something to think about and I was pleased to do that.
“I went with a driver at the first and holed a 15-footer for the first of my two eagles before holing one from 60 feet for the second one. It was the first time I’d made two in the one round, and though disappointed that I didn’t make the one at the last as well, fortunately that didn’t end up being costly.”
German Hannah Karg won the girls’ equivalent by ten shots at Montrose Links, turning that 54-hole contest into a procession with rounds of 72-66-69 for a 12-under-par 207 aggregate.
A closing 67 – the best score on the final day – earned Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam second spot on a countback from English challenger Hollie Muse, but this was all about Karg as she overpowered the field.
“I’m really pleased with my score, it was really great,” said the 17-year-old from Hamburg, who recorded two eagles and 17 birdies over the three rounds. “I won the German Under-16 Strokeplay Championship, but this tournament is my biggest win. I played really, really good to shoot 66 [a course record-equalling effort] on Thursday and every day under par is a great week overall for me.” On this perfomance, Karg looks like a player to watch out for in years to come. “I want to go to the LPGA Tour one day, so maybe this is a good start for me to achieving that goal,” she added, having “felt comfortable” on this visit to Scotland after competing in the same event in 2014.
It’s been a lean couple of years for Scottish girls, but McWilliam, who finished third in the women’s equivalent at Troon two years ago, looks as if her game is heading in the right direction. “It wasn’t the best start in round one,” she said of a 79, “but I felt I could come back and post under par rounds. I wanted to win this week, but it was very impressive scoring from Hannah and well played to her.”