16-year-old pipped in Scot­tish ama­teur fi­nal af­ter bat­tling show

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Back Page - Mur­ray Spooner

A Burn­side teenage golfer reached the fi­nal of the Scot­tish Ama­teur Boys Cham­pi­onship that saw 256 of the coun­try’s finest young tal­ents whit­tled down to just two.

Lewis Irvine, 16, was nar­rowly beaten 2& 1 in the last round by Eric McIn­tosh in Satur­day’s 36hole show­down at Mur­car Links Golf Club in north of Aberdeen. The Ki rkh i l l Golf Club ju­nior cham­pion was ahead early in the open­ing holes but his op­po­nent moved one ahead at the sev­enth and was al­ways lead­ing be­fore clos­ing out a tight con­test with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 35th, mo­ments af­ter Lewis had al­most chipped in. On a dif­fi­cult day for scor­ing in the north east, with blus­tery and damp con­di­tions worst in the morn­ing, McIn­tosh pro­duced five birdies in the af­ter­noon of the fi­nal to secure the win. Lewis how­ever, can take many pos­i­tives from his ef­forts and this week he told the Re­former he was very sur­prised to even have made it to the last stage of the com­pe­ti­tion. He said: “It was a great suc­cess for me. I was play­ing for Scot­land the week be­fore in Ire­land and got back on the Satur­day morn­ing and started the Scot­tish tour­na­ment on the Mon­day so I wasn’t ex­pect­ing a great deal. To get all the way through to the fi­nal was a bit of a sur­prise. “Ob­vi­ously I wasn’t go­ing into the day to lose but I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted to have ended up sec­ond.

“Eric is a year older than me and a bit big­ger and stronger so he’s got a bit of an edge. It wasn’t a bit­ter game, it was an en­joy­able one to be a part of.

“They do the seed­ing in this tour­na­ment and I put out the fifth and sev­enth seed so I put a cou­ple of favourites out like Cal­lum Bruce.

“The weather through­out the week was very chal­leng­ing. It was rain­ing and the wind was up. The Fri­day was the only kind of nice day and the oth­ers were quite stormy.

“I putted well when I had to and it was good enough to see me through the rounds but not the fi­nal.”

Lewis has been the cur­rent ju­nior un­der-18 cham­pion at his home club for the last three years and se­cured his fi­nal berth with a two­hole win over John Pater­son in the semi-fi­nal.

In another tight round against the New Golf Club St Andrews teenager, Lewis got him­self back on level terms by driv­ing the 11th green and mak­ing an ea­gle two be­fore inch­ing ahead on the 13th when his ri­val had a dou­ble bo­gey.

A rak­ing putt of some 30 feet to halve the 15th kept Pater­son at bay. Lewis was one-up play­ing the 18th but was handed the hole when Pater­son made a hash of his at­tempts to square the tie.

The Hutchesons’ Gram­mar pupil is in his fifth year at school and has am­bi­tions of mak­ing it as a pro­fes­sional golfer.

But af­ter the tour­na­ment and play­ing for the Scot­land un­der­16s in the past month, Lewis is now fo­cussed on do­ing well in his Higher ex­ams.

He said: “My dad and I de­cided that once we got the tour­na­ment out of the way I would fo­cus on school for the next six weeks un­til the ex­ams were over and then get back to the golf.

“To be­come a pro golfer is def­i­nitely the am­bi­tion and al­ways has been. It’s some­thing you can make a good liv­ing out of but it’s good to have the im­por­tance of an ed­u­ca­tion to fall back on.

“There are not many who make it to the top level.”

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