Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson yesterday tamed the wild winds of West Kilbride to add the Scottish Boys Championship to his British Boys crown.
Ferguson becomes the first player since Steven O’Hara in 1998 to hold the two titles at the same time, the 17-year-old top seed claimed a 6&5 success against his fellow Boys international team-mate Ben Kinsley - also 17 - in the SGU’s flagship under-18 event.
Ferguson, who became the first Scot in almost 10 years to win the Boys’ Amateur title at Hoylake last year, was never behind in match that featured a trio of chip-in’s as he dashed third seed Kinsley’s hopes of becoming the first St Andrews player to win the title since 1960.
Ferguson, who was taken to the 18th in his first round match but then never looked back all week, said: “It was so hard in the wind, but my short game was good when it had to be.
“I’m delighted to win. There has been pressure on me this week as the top seed and I’m pleased I handled it.”
In blustery, wet conditions, the final began in the worst weather of the week. Still, the pair battled well and made birdies on the second to illustrate their abilities. However, bogeys from Kinsley at the sixth and ninth saw Ferguson take a two-hole lead at the turn, with the Bearsden boy battling to one-over-par for the opening nine holes.
As the skies brightened, even though the wind continued to gust, Kinsley regrouped and made a birdie on the 11th after Ferguson found trouble in the sand.
At the next, he had pulled level, brilliantly chipping in from over a bunker at the short 12th. Ferguson, though, hit back in some style as the final ebbed and flowed.
"There has been pressure on me this week as the top seed and I’m pleased I handled it.”
At the 13th, with both players close, it was Ferguson who made birdie before he emulated Kinsley’s chip in with his own holed shot at the 14th - superbly finding the cup from 20 yards for an eagle two to restore his two-hole lead.
More magic from Ferguson followed at the 16th, when he played a sublime 55-yard approach shot from a bunker. Kinsley was close with his fine second shot too, but he missed from 10 feet and Ferguson holed from six feet to go three ahead, his third birdie in four holes.
A win for Kinsley at the 18th before lunch would have been a huge confidence booster, and he looked in pole position to do it after Ferguson was unable to reach the green in two. However, Ferguson eyed up his greenside chip and promptly knocked it in to the delight of his Bearsden followers. Kinsley was unable to match the birdie from eight feet to allow Ferguson, four under for his last six holes, to go four up.
“I struggled a wee bit in the wind and my putter was cold,” admitted Kinsley, also playing in his first Boys final. “The ten feet putts that I’d holed all week missed today.
As the sun finally peered out for the restart, Kinsley bogeyed the 19th to quickly go five down before rescuing one back thanks to Ferguson’s bogey six at the long 21st. But Kinsley went long at the 23rd and Ferguson pounced to restore the five-hole lead he never really looked like losing Indeed, he went six up at the 26th after Kinsley made a double bogey into the teeth of the wind.
There was a mere blip at the 28th when Ferguson’s tricky chip, standing in a bunker with the ball above his feet, hopped out of bounds over the boundary fence, only for the end to come with Kinsley’s bogey at the 31st.
Ferguson is the first Dumbartonshire player to win the Scottish Boys Championship since Cardross’ Scott Henry won at Murcar in 2005, but Kinsley's defeat means St Andrews players have lost four of the last five finals.
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