Banchory’s Sam Locke fed off the encouragement of former Open champion Paul Lawrie to seal a dream spot in the Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship final at Prestwick.
The 18-year-old is relishing his biggest moment in the game to date after taking the scalps of Nairn’s Sandy Scott and Alasdair McDougall (Elderslie) to reach tomorrow’s 36-hole showdown.
Locke is part of the Paul Lawrie Foundation and the Ryder Cup stalwart has tweeted his support for him throughout the week while he plays in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“Paul helps me a lot with my game, like the mental side and managing it, so it’s much appreciated,” said Locke, whose dad, Andrew, is a coach at Lawrie’s Golf Centre on the outskirts of Aberdeen.
“I pick up the phone to him now and again. When I started in the Foundation Paul gave me his number and said ‘Look, anything at all, give me a call, no matter how silly you may think it is’.
“A lot of guys won’t have someone like that to learn from, an Open champion and Ryder Cup winner. He’s been there and done so much, so it’s amazing to learn off him. When you do things well like this week, it’s good to get compliments as it gives you a big boost.”
Locke was impressive in seeing off the challenge of Scott, a European Amateur team winner with Scotland last summer, and maintained his consistency to defeat McDougall.
His opponent in the final is Ryan Lumsden, who defeated Stuart Easton and Chris Maclean both by a margin of 3&2. The London-born player, who is attached to Royal Wimbledon, plays for Scotland through his Edinburgh-born grandparents and his affinity for Caledonia.
The 20-year-old, who works with Scots coach David Inglis at Northwestern University in the US, still enjoys golf trips to North Berwick to visit family.
Lumsden said: “Scottish Golf has always been good to me, offered me a chance to play for them when I was about 16 and I’ve been excited to keep competing for them.
“I always played the Scottish Boys’ event over the English, for example, because of my historical attachment. I’ve always wanted to play for Scotland really.”
The 36-hole final starts at 8.30am tomorrow with entry free for all spectators.