With wins in the Irish Amateur Championship, St Andrews Links Trophy and the Amateur Championship, Scottish amateur golf is riding the crest of a wave right now - and reigning British Boys champion Ewen Ferguson admits he would love to continue that trend in this week’s Brabazon Trophy.
The Bearsden teenager will join a stellar field of some of the world’s best amateur golfers at Seaton Carew Golf Club in Hartlepool for the 68th edition of the English Men’s Strokeplay Championship.
And, having seen his compatriots Jamie Savage, Grant Forrest and Bradley Neil all get their hands on major British titles in recent weeks, Ferguson admits he is champing at the bit to emulate them.
“I’ve been playing really well recently without scoring all that great,” he said. “I thought I’d played well at the Amateur Championship in Royal Portrush last week but ended up missing the cut by a shot, which was heartbreaking.
“So, I feel like my game is there and, obviously, it would be great to win the Brabazon this week with the guys having all won recently. Seeing them all celebrating their victories has made me more eager than ever to get my hands on a title.”
Ferguson is so desperate to get back amongst the winners’ circle that he admits to even looking up Brabazon Trophy host venue Seaton Carew on the internet.
“It looks like a really good course, so I’m feeling confident about my chances,” he added. “Seeing Brad, Jamie and Grant winning really gives you a boost, too. We play together all the time and, whilst they’re all great players, I don’t think of them as being any better than me. The way I see is that if they can win the big events, why can’t I?
“Brad and I were doubles partners at the Jacques Leglise Trophy last year and were unstoppable, whilst Jamie and I teamed-up well in our test match in South Africa at the start of the year, so I see myself as being right up there with them.”
"I’m confident this is where I belong. Winning the Brabazon Trophy this week would be the icing on the cake.” - Ewen Ferguson
This is Ferguson’s first season playing men’s golf and, after taking a bit of time to settle, he says he now feels right at home.
“It was a bit of step up going from being the big fish in the boys’ game to almost starting all over again in men’s golf,” he says. “But I feel settled now and I’m confident this is where I belong. Winning the Brabazon Trophy this week would be the icing on the cake.”
A field of 144 players and four rounds on one of the north of England’s most prestigious clubs stand between Ferguson and the famous gold trophy, which takes its name from its donor, Lord Brabazon of Tara, a former captain of the R&A.
First contested in 1947, the Brabazon Trophy has been staged over the most prestigious courses in England, including Royal Birkdale and Hunstanton - which have each played host five times - whilst Ganton, Woodhall Spa, Moortown, Hollinwell, Royal Liverpool and Saunton have also been used.
For Seaton Carew, this year represents the second time that it has hosted the championship. It previously staged it in 1985, when a young Peter Baker - who would go on to play in the Walker Cup and Ryder Cup - ran out the winner.
The course might not have the same high profile as some of England’s other courses but it can count the great Walter Hagen amongst its biggest fans. The American paid it a visit in 1937 and is on record as saying: “It is a splendid course. Personally, I am very fond of seaside links. They are natural and provide very interesting and varied types of holes. The Seaton links are very well groomed, the greens lovely, and the fairways and lies good. It is not an easy course. It provides a good test of golf and is one on which I should like to play quite often.”
Whoever ultimately wins this week will join an illustrious roll call of past champions, which includes Sandy Lyle (1975, ’77), Charl Schwartzel (2002), Ignacio Garrido (1992) and Gordon Brand Jr (1978).
Brabazon Trophy: Follow the action
Keep up-to-date with how Ewen Ferguson and Co. fare in this week’s Brabazon Trophy by logging-on to www.englandgolf.org for live scoring.