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