Ex-champions hit out at plan to cut Scottish Amateur final to 18 holes

Bob MacIntyre is a former Scottish Amateur champion. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Bob MacIntyre is a former Scottish Amateur champion. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
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Bob MacIntyre, the 2015 winner after pulling off a brilliant fightback at Muirfield, has questioned Scottish Golf’s decision to cut the final of the Scottish Amateur Championship from 36 to 18 holes from next year.

The change, which will be implemented when the event is staged at Crail in the summer, is due to the governing body’s flagship men’s tournament being held over five days instead of six, as had been traditional.

“Really, why have they done this?” said MacIntyre, pictured, who came from four down at lunch to beat Craigie Hill’s Daniel Young by two holes when he claimed the title in East Lothian. “Eighteen holes for the final of national championship? Should be 36 as it’s the fairest way.”

The left-hander from Glencruitten used his victory as a springboard to become a European Tour player, finishing in the top 15 in his two most recent outings in the South African Open and the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Recalling at the time how he’d managed to turn his final around, he added: “I went out on to the range after lunch and felt I was hitting it good, so just took it out to the golf course.”

The decision to reduce the title decider to an 18-hole sprint has also been criticised by two others who played in the event in the past. Leven’s Brian Soutar, winner of the 2012 South African Amateur Championship, described it as a “terrible idea”, while John Huggan cited his 1983 final defeat at the hands of Charlie Green at Gullane as another example of how a 36-hole match could change. “Had it been 18 holes, I would have lost 5&4. But it became a battle that ended only on the 36th green,” he recalled of losing to the Cardross man by just one hole. “Yet again, Scottish Golf gets something wrong.”

As well as the men’s event being reduced by a day, the flagships women’s and girls’ championships will both be decided over just three days next year.

Fraser Munro, Scottish Golf’s head of events, said the changes were “proactive steps” due to the events calendar being “exceptionally busy” and people’s time being “increasingly limited at 
key times”.

The final of the Amateur Championship, which is run by the R&A, is still a 36-hole contest, though the title decider in the women’s equivalent is over 
18 holes.