Ewen Ferguson has become the first Scot to win The Boys Amateur Championship in almost a decade, joining a roll of honour thay includes Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia.
The 17-year-old from Bearsden, the SGU National Boys Squad and Scottish Golf Academy player, came from three down after the first five holes to defeat the German Michael Hirmer, a pupil at Loretto School near Musselburgh, by 10&9 in the 36-hole final at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake).
It was a result which made Ferguson, coached by Scottish Golf Academy coach Gregor Monks, the first Scottish winner since Jordan Findlay defeated Tom Sherreard 2&1 at Conwy back in 2004 and it reversed the result on the last occasion a Scot met a German in the Boys Amateur final, when Bernhard Neumann beat Findlay on the Scot’s defence of his title at Hunstanton in 2005.
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).
Other notable previous winners of The Boys Amateur Championship include Sir Michael Bonallack (1952), Howard Clark (1971), Ronan Rafferty (1979), Olazabal (1983), David Howell (1993), Garcia (1997), Pablo Martin (2001) and Tom Lewis (2009).
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 par on the 27th hole to defeat his demoralised German 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 they have done.
“The funny thing is 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 5th hole I started to play well.”
Ferguson matchplay form was in evidence at Blairgowrie recently when he reached the last-eight of the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship and the new 2013 Scottish Hydro Boys Order of Merit winner has simply continued his form south of the border.
The first round of the final began in a brisk 20 mile per hour wind and it was the German who was first to acclimatise to the conditions. He went one up with a solid par at the 372-yard par-4 2nd and then doubled that advantage when the Scot failed to extricate himself from a greenside bunker on the par-3 4th.
Hirmer went on to win the 5th with a regulation par but Ferguson started his fightback with a 35-foot birdie putt across the green on the 6th and then won both the 7th and the 8th to get back to all square for the first time since the 2nd.
The wind was still howling across the course 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 than he had been when he started out in the morning and he went two up when he birdied 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 for an unlikely par.
Ferguson was three-under-par for the last 14 holes of his morning round and he was two-under-par in the afternoon by the time he claimed the match on the 27th hole.
The Scot won the first hole of the second round when Hirmer hit his second shot into the deep rough that guards the left of the green. He went on to win the 20th hole with a birdie 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 9-feet for a birdie 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 regulation par-4s.
“I started well this morning but then lost it a bit,” admitted the German. “It’s been a long week and I think it all just caught up with me in the end.
“I’m disappointed but after my 81 in the first round of qualifying if you told me I’d reach the final, I wouldn’t have believed you. That’s what I’m going to have to remember when I think about it tonight.”
Hirmer’s consolation was that he won the Peter Garner Bowl, awarded to the player aged under 17 who progresses furthest in the Championship.