Monty Scowsill will contest tomorrow’s Final of The 126th
Amateur Championship at Nairn (R&A photo)
Laird Shepherd and Monty Scowsill will contest an all-England match in Saturday's final of The 126th Amateur Championship at Nairn.
With the U.S. Open being contested simultaneously at Torrey Pines in California both players will be reminded that winning the Amateur Championship is their ticket to several important exemptions. The winner gains an exemption into The 149th Open at Royal St George’s, the 2022 US Open and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.
Scowsill made no secret of his desire to compete agains the world's best.
“Tomorrow is a big day," said Scowsill. "It’s what you dream about as kid when you get into golf, playing in Majors with your idols. The opportunity for that to happen tomorrow is incredible and I’m extremely excited to play."
The former R&A Scholars battled through quarter and semi-final ties today over the Moray links to set themselves up for the 36-hole showdown.
Rye’s Shepherd, 23, claimed a notable one-hole semi-final triumph over Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup player Jack Dyer, closing with a superb 3-wood into the par-5 18th for a winning birdie.
“I had a decent lie for my second shot, 277 to the pin," said Shepherd. "I knew if I got a flier I could get it on the surface. I just hit a perfect golf shot."
Dyer, 23, who finished runner-up in the stroke play qualifying, was two down after five holes but recovered to all square at the turn. Shepherd, who graduated from the University of Stirling last June and now lives in St Andrews, refused to go away in a nip-and-tuck back nine to set up his winning finish.
In the other closely-fought semi-final, ex-University of Exeter student Scowsill came through against Wales’ James Ashfield by two holes.
Ashfield, 20, was bidding to become the first Welshman to win The Amateur since Stephen Dodd at Royal Birkdale in 1989, but it was Scowsill, 25, who was two up after four holes. In a tight match, Ashfield pulled back to level the encounter at the 9th.
It was still all square after an extraordinary 12th hole when Ashfield found trouble on the right with his second shot, took a penalty drop line of sight back around 100 yards and promptly chipped in for bogey to halve the hole. However, it was Woodbridge’s Scowsill who held his nerve to triumph, helped by a birdie at the 15th.
Scowsill credited his opponent for a fine match, despite a stumble on No. 18.
“It was a tight semi-final match, tough in the wind and it was a case of who limited their mistakes," said Scowsill. "James gifted me the 18th so it made the walk up 18 a bit less stressful than it could have been. James is a gentleman, it was a great match and really nice to play with him."
Nairn was bathed in glorious sunshine once more as the renowned links builds on its excellent reputation having hosted The Amateur in 1994, the Walker Cup in 1999 and the Curtis Cup in 2012.
In the morning, hopes of a home winner ended at the quarter-final stage. Nairn member Calum Scott was again backed by local support and gave them early cheer by almost holing his tee shot at the short 4th to go one up against Ashfield.
However, Ashfield quickly turned the match around to win three holes in-a-row and go two up after seven. Scott battled back to all square after Ashfield’s double bogey on the 12th but the Welshman came through 2&1 to end the brave bid of the 17-year-old Scot.
Scowsill was never behind in his last-eight meeting with St Andrews’ John Paterson. The Englishman raced to a two-up lead after three holes after the Scot started with three bogeys and held control for the duration, winning 3&2 thanks to birdies on the 10th and 16th.
The most impressive quarter-final win came from Shepherd. Three down after six holes to countryman Sam Bairstow, he won three of the next five holes to square the match at the 11th. Left hander Bairstow went back ahead on the 14th before Shepherd won the 15th and 18th to edge through by one hole.
Dyer was again in superb form to defeat Olly Huggins, helped by winning the opening four holes. He reduced his arrears to two holes by the 7th but Dyer was rarely in trouble in a 5&3 triumph.
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 will be live broadcast on The R&A’s YouTube and Facebook accounts as well as on randa.org.
ABOUT THE British Amateur
This championship, along with the US Amateur
Championship, is considered the most
The first stage of the Championship involves
288 players each of whom plays two rounds of
18 holes, one to be played on each of the two
courses. The 64 lowest scores over the 36
holes and ties for 64th place will compete in
the match play stage of the Championship.
Each match will consist of one round of 18
holes except the Final which will be over 36
View Complete Tournament Information