Golf: Ewen Ferguson ends wait for Scottish winner

Ewen Ferguson has become the first Scot to win The Boys Amateur Championship in almost a decade.

Ewen Ferguson: Great moment
Ewen Ferguson: Great moment

The Bearsden 17-year-old came from three down after the first five holes to defeat Germany’s Michael Hirmer, a pupil at Loretto School near Musselburgh, by 10 & 9 in the 36-hole final at Hoylake.

Ferguson is the first Scottish winner since Jordan Findlay beat Tom Sherreard 2 & 1 at Conwy in Caernarvonshire in 2004.

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This year’s final ended one hole earlier than last year when Matthew Fitzpatrick, who won the silver medal as the leading amateur at the 2013 Open Championship, beat Welshman, Henry James, by 10 & 8 in the final at Notts Golf Club (Hollinwell). It was also the most one-sided result since 1974 when Toby Shannon, who was a spectator this week, unexpectedly defeated Sandy Lyle by the same margin at Royal Liverpool.

“This is absolutely amazing,” said the new champion after recording a regulation four on the 27th hole to defeat his demoralised opponent.

“I’ve worked hard over the last two years and this has made it all worthwhile. It is a great moment for me and it’s even more special because my family have come down to see it. Mum and Dad have made a lot of sacrifices for me over the years and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for everything.

“I never seem to play well when Dad’s watching,” he added. “My golf was terrible first thing this morning but as soon as Dad disappeared, about the fifth hole, I started to play well.”

The first round began in a brisk 20mph wind and it was the German who was first to acclimatise, going up with a solid four at the 372-yard par-4 second, and then doubled that advantage when the Scot failed to extricate himself from a greenside bunker on the par-3 fourth. Hirmer went on to win the fifth with a four but Ferguson started his fightback with a 35-foot putt on the sixth and then won both the seventh and eighth to get back to all square.

The wind was still howling as Ferguson won the 10th but he gave back a hole with a wayward drive on the 12th before starting his charge for the clubhouse by holing an 18-foot putt for a birdie to win the par-3 13th.

The Scot was suddenly exuding much more confidence and he went two up when he made a three at the 15th before hitting a wonderful 3-wood into the heart of the green at the 17th.

Hirmer seemed to have the upper hand when Ferguson hit a 3-wood 310 yards into a fairway bunker on the 18th but both players hit their second shots into the same greenside bunker and it was the Scot who emerged with a four hole lead at lunch when he hit out to 16 feet and holed the putt.

Ferguson won the first hole of the second round when Hirmer hit his second shot into deep rough. He went on to win the 20th hole with a four and then went seven up when Hirmer missed the green on the par-3 22nd. The German did get one hole back when he holed out from nine feet on the 23rd but the writing was on the wall when Ferguson won three holes in a row from the 24th and it all ended on the 27th when the players halved the hole in four.