- Kenny Smith photo
DUMFRIES, Scotland (June 2, 2013) — Garrick Porteous became the third Englishman in the last five years to claim the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play Championship, winning the Carrick Neill-sponsored event, by four strokes at a blustery Southerness today.
On the beautiful Solway Firth, Porteous further heightened his Walker Cup claims by building on his overnight one-shot lead for his first major success.
The 23-year-old from Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, ranked 67th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, has quickly gone one better than his runner-up result at the Welsh Stroke Play last month, emulating the achivements of countrymen Andy Sullivan and Tommy Fleetwood - victors in 2011 and 2009 respectively.
Porteous finished on one-over-par 277, four clear of Irish pair Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), who eagled the last for a best-of-the-day two-under 67, and Richard O’Donovan (Lucan), as well as Moor Park’s Callum Shinkwin.
Of the Scots, three finished inside the top-10, indeed seven in the top-20 – Jack McDonald, Scott Borrowman, James Ross, Charlie Macneal, home member Scott Gibson, Ewan Scott and Sam Binning.
McDonald of Kilmarnock (Barassie), the 2012 Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year, was top Scot in sixth place after a superb closing round of 68, while Dollar’s Borrowman rallied to share seventh and James Ross of Royal Burgess tied for ninth.
SGU Men’s Performance Squad player McDonald was six shots adrift of Porteous and the 20-year-old was left to reflect on a double-bogey on the par-5 18th on day one that ultimately hit his hopes.
After a pleasant start to the final 36 holes with only a light breeze, the wind, a factor overall all three days, again picked up to make scoring hugely difficult – but Porteous reigned supreme.
The England Golf National Squad player, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, said: “I’ve had a lot of top-five finishes, but this is my first win so it’s special.
“It was just a grind. The Lytham Trophy was tough last month, but this was colder and windier. I was just solid inside six feet, with some great up and downs.”
Asked of his Walker Cup hopes, he said: “It’s a big win for me early in the season, so we’ll just wait and see. There are more big events to come, as it’s a hectic time.”
McDonald was pleased with his week’s work, feeling he can now focus on his golf after finishing a pure maths exam at the University of Stirling late last month.
In his afternoon round of level-par 69, he was a model of consistency, carding just one five – a par at the final hole. “It was really tough in the wind, but that’s as good as I’ve played this year,” said the 20-year-old.
“I feel my game is coming back after my exam. I only had the one this year, as I’ve still two years left at Stirling, and it’s out of my head now.”
McDonald, coached by Gregor Howie and Dean Robertson, added: “I’ve been playing really nicely and not getting the results, so hopefully I can kick on now this summer.”
The biggest recovery story came from Borrowman, the reigning SGU Men’s Order of Merit champion.
The 26-year-old holed out a 150-yard pitching wedge for an eagle three on Saturday to make the cut on 10-over-par with nothing to spare. Rounds of 69 and 70 followed to secure his top-10 finish.
“I struggled over the first two days to get the ball in play and I didn’t think I would make the weekend, to be honest,” said Borrowman. “I had a bad run of holes at the end of the second round, with a double bogey on 15 and then bogeys on 16 and 17.
“So to hole my pitching wedge was massive. I knew it was close but didn’t see the ball finish, so put my club in the bag and started walking.
“Then I saw Matt Clark waving his arms about at the green and I knew it was in. I was a shot away from missing the cut and now I’ve finished inside the top 10, so it’s turned out a quite nice weekend for me.”
SGU Boys’ Performance Squad player Scott, from St Andrews, secured a creditable tie for 16th spot, as the 18-year-old continued his progress at Men’s level, with Macneal of Prestwick sharing 11th.
But there were disappointing final rounds for the Scottish Boys champion Bradley Neil (81) and Irish Open joint runner-up Graeme Robertson (80) as they slipped well down the field.
Brady Watt, the second-ranked amateur in the world, also found the going tough, finishing on 23-over-par, one stroke more than Neil.