How British Boys’ champion Ewen Ferguson added the prestigious Scottish Boys crown to his achievements
BEARSDEN’S Ewen Ferguson tamed the wild winds of West Kilbride to add the Scottish Boys Championship to his British Boys’ crown.
Becoming the first player since Steven O’Hara in 1998 to hold the two titles at the same time, the 17-year-old top seed claimed a 6&5 success against his fellow boys’ international team-mate Ben Kinsley, also 17, in the SGU’s flagship
Ferguson, who became the first Scot in almost ten years to win the Boys’ Amateur title at Hoylake last year, was never behind in a match that featured a trio of chip-ins, as he dashed third seed Kinsley’s hopes of becoming the first St Andrews player to win the title since 1960.
Ferguson, who was taken to the 18th in his first round match, but then never looked back all week, said: “It was so hard in the wind, but my short game was good when it had to be.
“I’m delighted to win. I’ve always been there or thereabouts since I played in the under-14s, but never really won anything. I made the quarter-finals of the Boys and the Scottish Amateur last year, so it’s nice to get over the line in this one. There has been pressure on me this week as the top seed and I’m pleased I handled it.”
The final began in the worst weather of the week, and the pair battled well, making birdies on the second to illustrate their abilities. However, bogeys from Kinsley at the sixth and ninth saw Ferguson take a two-hole lead at the turn, with the Bearsden boy battling to one-over-par for the opening nine holes.
As the skies brightened, the wind continued to gust, and Kinsley re-grouped to make a birdie on the 11th after Ferguson found trouble in the sand. At the next, he had pulled level, brilliantly chipping in from over a bunker at the short 12th. Ferguson, though, hit back in some style as the final ebbed and flowed.
At the 13th, with both players close, it was Ferguson who made birdie before he emulated Kinsley’s chip in with his own holed shot at the 14th - superbly finding the cup from 20 yards for an eagle-two to restore his two-hole lead.
More magic from Ferguson followed at the 16th, when he played a sublime 55-yard approach shot from a bunker. Kinsley was close with his fine second shot too, but he missed from ten feet and Ferguson holed from six feet to go three ahead, his third birdie in four holes.
A win for Kinsley at the 18th before lunch would have been a huge confidence booster, and he looked in pole position to do it after Ferguson was unable to reach the green in two. However, Ferguson eyed up his greenside chip and promptly knocked it in to the delight of his Bearsden followers. Kinsley was unable to match the birdie from eight feet to allow Ferguson,
four-under for his last six holes, to go four-up in the match.
“I struggled a wee bit in the wind and my putter was cold,” admitted Kinsley, also playing in his first Boys final. “The ten-foot putts that I’d holed all week missed. They were the difference to being all-square at lunch and four-down.”
As the sun finally peered out for the re-start, Kinsley bogeyed the 19th to quickly go five-down before rescuing one back thanks to Ferguson’s bogey-six at the long 21st. But Kinsley went long at the 23rd and Ferguson pounced to restore the five-hole lead he never really looked like losing.
Indeed, he went six-up at the 26th after Kinsley made a double-bogey into the teeth of the wind. There was a mere blip at the 28th when Ferguson’s tricky chip, standing in a bunker with the ball above his feet, hopped out of bounds over the boundary fence, only for the end to come with Kinsley’s bogey at the 31st.
“I was in Abu Dhabi and South Africa with the SGU over the winter and I feel fitter and stronger than ever,” added Ferguson.