Banchory star Sam routs Ryan Lumsden to run out victorious at Prestwick – and emulate legend Monty in the process
By Ed Hodge
Banchory’s Sam Locke emulated the achievement of eight-time European Tour No.1 Colin Montgomerie when he stormed to glory in the Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship at Prestwick.
The 18-year-old achieved his biggest success in the game courtesy of a thumping 9&8 win over Anglo-Scot Ryan Lumsden from Royal Wimbledon, sealing an automatic spot in the Scotland side for the Men’s Home Internationals.
The last winner to achieve such a margin of victory was Ryder Cup stalwart Montgomerie, when he defeated fellow Ayrshireman Alasdair Watt at Nairn in 1987.
Stonehaven-based Locke, a former Scotland Boys’ international and part of the Paul Lawrie Foundation, raced to a five-up lead after nine holes as Lumsden, 20, struggled to five-over-par at the turn. Locke, who is coached by his dad, Andrew, then birdied five of the last eight holes to remarkably lead ten-up at lunch, an advantage he was unlikely to ever lose.
When Locke’s tee shot came back off the wall at the 19th rather than going out of bounds, Lumsden surely knew it wasn’t his day. He battled back to eight-down at the 23rd, helped with an eagle at the 21st, but back-to-back birdies from Locke at the 24th and 25th virtually ended the contest.
With Locke placed outside the top 1,000 in the world amateur golf rankings, it was a notable scalp for the north-east player. Lumsden, after all, has performed well at Northwestern University in the US, represented Scotland at the European Amateur Team Championship and is placed inside the world’s top 200.
Afterwards, Locke, who emerged victorious from a 264-player field at this year’s new-look event, said: “Montgomerie is not a bad guy to follow in the footsteps of! I wouldn’t mind his career. I played really solid this morning, didn’t really do much wrong and holed a few putts. Whenever you do that, you are going to be pretty hard to beat in matchplay.
“It’s nice to finally get a big win under my belt and hopefully I can kick on from here and enjoy more success. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and practice hard.”
Paul Lawrie was quick to pay tribute to his young protégé after receiving news of his win in Ohio, where he was competing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – his 600th event on the European Tour.
“We’re so proud of Sam’s golf, but also of him,” said Lawrie. “He is a lovely lad who works very hard at his game and is developing very well. He deserves this.”
Locke returned the praise, saying: “Paul has been brilliant for me, since I was about 14. He got me into his Foundation and has helped me with all parts of my game, as well as the mental side. It’s great to pick up the phone and ask him anything when I need to.
“Banchory have also been brilliant, done a lot for me as a club since a young age and it was great to have people down supporting me today, including my dad.”
Lumsden, meanwhile, was left to rue a poor start in the final. “It was just one of those days,” he said. “I didn’t hit it as good as I hit it the rest of the week. I found myself in the semi rough a lot of times and did a poor job of controlling the ball from there.
“My putting was also very poor, and Sam played just great golf. It seemed like he made every putt he looked at and shot a great score in the morning. In the afternoon, I was mentally a little better and more aggressive but it was his day. The score says it all and he deserved to win. He was better than me today.”
It was the 90th staging of the Scottish Amateur, with Locke joining a winners’ list that also includes Ronnie Shade, Charlie Green, Stephen Gallacher, Andrew Coltart, Dean Robertson and, more recently, David Law and Grant Forrest.
For host venue, Prestwick, this was its ninth time staging the championship. Prior to this year, it most recently played host in 2007, with John Gallagher running out the winner on that occasion.