English rising star claims his first-ever men’s title at Moray with Scottish Strokeplay victory
A brilliant 66 in round three helped by a chip-in for an eagle-two at the ninth, was bidding to become the first Scots winner since Wallace Booth in 2008 but came up just short as Penge’s tenacity and recent experience of playing in windy weather helped him get over the finishing line first.
“I played in similar weather at the Irish Amateur, so I guess I’m used to it! I actually feel I like those conditions as it makes you battle and keep your head mentally,” said Penge.
“It’s my first win at men’s amateur level, so I’m progressing. Playing in the Walker Cup was my goal at the start of the season so hopefully I have given the selectors something to think about.”
The English ace joins an impressive list of former winners of the title, including victorious Ryder Cup captains Bernard Gallacher and Colin Montgomerie, as well as current European Tour stars Stephen Gallacher, Richie Ramsay, Tommy Fleetwood and Andrew Sullivan.
Elsewhere, Lucas Herbert, the top player in the field ranked No. 20 on the WAGR, had catapulted himself into the hunt after a new course record in the third round but, ultimately, had to settle for a tie for fourth overall on one-over.
The Aussie fired a bogey free six-under-par 65 for the new record after a series of recent course improvements to enhance the much-loved routing of the Old Course, first laid out by Old Tom Morris in 1889.
Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson, meanwhile, twice a domestic winner in 2015, was four behind going into the final round, but his hopes drifted on the wind after a closing 76. He ended up sharing fourth with Herbert, Switzerland’s Mathias Eggenberger and English pair Tom Sloman and Callum MacKay.
Welsh left-hander Owen Edwards, ranked 2,221 in the world, had also put up a brave fight during the opening 54 holes but struggled in the late afternoon conditions to finish with a 77.
Carrick Neill, part of the Arthur J. Gallagher group and the SGU’s official insurance partner, continue to provide their support to the event.