Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson will play Germany’s Michael Hirmer in the final of the 87th Boys Amateur Championship at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) tomorrow.
On a blustery day marred by intermittent showers, 16-year-old Ferguson, from Bearsden Golf Cub near Glasgow, beat Spain’s Ivan Cantero by 2 & 1 in the quarter-finals and then in the semi- finals defeated 15-year-old English international Bradley Moore by 4 & 3.
Hirmer started the Championship by posting a nine-over-par 81 in the first qualifying round at Wallasey but scraped into the match play with a 69 at Royal Liverpool and since then has been displaying the sort of form that saw him finish sixth at the recent German Boys Championship at St Leon-Rot.
The 16-year-old German came from behind to beat England’s Ben Robinson in the morning and then in the afternoon survived a late scare before ending the challenge of France’s Paul Elissalde on the final green. Tomorrow’s 36-hole final will have a distinctly Scottish tinge to it because Hirmer is currently at the Golf Academy at Loretto School near Musselburgh and he plays a lot of golf on the East Lothian links.
Ferguson went into the quarter-finals with a fine win over Italy’s Renato Paratore under his belt the previous evening and he was three up over Cantero after seven holes before seeing that lead evaporate completely by the time he lost the 15th hole. He regained the initiative with a birdie on the 551-yard par-5 16th and then closed out the match with a par one hole later.
In the semi-final, there was not much to choose between Ferguson and Moore until around the turn where the Scot won both the 9th and 10th holes. He also won the 522-yard par-5 14th with a birdie and then confirmed his place in the final when Moore three-putted from just off the back edge of the 15th green.
“It was all a bit scrappy,” admitted the Scot, who won this year’s inaugural Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy and came second at the Stephen Gallacher Scottish Boys’ Stroke Play Championship at The Roxburghe.
“Neither of us played anything like our best golf. We both had to scramble a lot but I holed a few more putts than Brad and that’s what made the difference.
“I think my Mum and Dad might well come down to watch the final,” he added.
Hirmer had history against him during his quarter-final clash against Robinson because the English player’s great grandfather was Dr W Tweddell, the former Walker Cup player and R&A captain, who won The Amateur Championship at Royal Liverpool back in 1927. Robinson’s father, Jeremy, also played Walker Cup golf but even with that pedigree behind him his son could not see off his German opponent.
Robinson was two up after 13 holes but he lost the 15th and the 16th to a birdie before a majestic chip to the last green took the match into extra time where he promptly drove out-of-bounds to hand the game to Hirmer.
The German looked to be having a much easier time of it in the semi-final when he went three up over Elissalde after 11 but he promptly lost the next three holes in succession before an excellent 6-iron to the 17th set up a birdie and gave him a one hole lead he held on to down the last.
“To be honest I can’t quite believe I’ve made it all the way to the final,” said Hirmer. “When I shot 81 at Wallasey on Monday I thought I’d be going home before the match play, but my 69 here on Tuesday gave me a lot of confidence and I’ve been playing pretty well ever since.
“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow,” he added. “It’s a big day for me but I know I’m going to enjoy it and hope I can continue to play well.”
The first round of the 36-hole final of the Boys Amateur Championship will tee off at 8.30am. For scoring from the final please visit championships.randa.org.