Scotland’s Euan Walker finished runner up at this year’s British Amateur following the 36-hole match which saw the Kilmarnock (Barassie) golfer fight back from five down to lose by one hole as Ireland’s James Sugrue claimed the title on home soil at Portmarnock on Saturday afternoon.
Looking to follow in the footsteps of Bradley Neil who was the last Scot to win the Championship in 2014, Walker’s comeback from five down after nine holes to all square thrilled around 3,000 spectators on the links near Dublin.
Walker, who won the African Amateur Championship at the start of the year and is ranked 71st in the world, remained three down after the morning session, but after Sugrue went four up at the 20th the Scot launched his fightback after winning the next two holes.
Sugrue claimed the 24th but his advantage was cut to just one hole after Walker’s birdie at the 26th. The Irishman responded with a birdie at the 28th to go two ahead again, but the battling Scot, currently ranked 71st in the world, refused to go away. He won the 31st with a birdie and then squared the contest at the 33rd after Sugrue’s bogey.
However, willed on by the home fans, Sugrue won the 35th with a par after Walker found trouble off the tee and sealed victory at the last when Walker again pushed his tee shot right.
Speaking after the Final, Walker said, “I was pretty nervous this morning, I don’t think there is anybody in my position that wouldn’t be nervous. I’ve never played on such a big stage before. It was a bit tough to hold the club first thing this morning but I got over it eventually.
“James is such a good player and is playing so well at the moment. I couldn’t give him the first three holes and expect an easy comeback from there, even though it was 36 holes. I did play much better the back nine of the first round and then into the second round. It wasn’t the volume of the people that was a challenge, it was the match itself as James is playing so well.
“To get it back to all square I had a chance going down the last three holes but I wasn’t very good off the tee on 17 and 18, driving off to the right.
“My coach, George Boswell, came over to support me and some friends from Troon which was great, I really appreciate that. I had loads of messages from people last night, like my friend (European Tour player) Robert MacIntyre, which was really nice. It was a great week and I’m absolutely gutted to lose.”
The 125th Amateur Championship will be played at Royal Birkdale and West Lancashire in England from 15 – 20 June 2020.