Australia’s Bryden Macpherson has won the 116th Amateur Championship, at Hillside Golf Club in England’s north west. The 20-year-old from Melbourne defeated Scotland’s Michael Stewart 3&2 in the 36-hole final, to make sure of a place in The Open Championship at Royal St George’s next month, and an invitation to the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National.
Macpherson, who has just finished his sophomore year at the University of Georgia, becomes only the second Australian to win the Amateur Championship; the first being Doug Bachli in 1954.
“I can’t believe it just yet. It feel’s pretty good to bridge the gap of 57 years. I hope there are a few proud Aussies having a barbeque,” he said.
The Victorian went one down after the first hole of the day, but after winning the sixth hole with a four, and likewise the ninth, he would establish a lead that would last until he closed out victory on the 34th green.
“My judgement of speed was awesome today, so that was real important, but the real key to this week was patience. As hard as it was to believe, I had complete confidence that it was going to happen for me this week. I did a really good job of staying out of my own way, and celebrating everything I did well. Staying in the moment was a major key.
“I love the whole atmosphere of the Amateur Championship. One of the main things is the crowds: it’s amazing how much people love their golf round here. It’s a credit to them”
Speaking before the final, Macpherson said: “The Open is my dream tournament. As the title suggests it’s The Open, and if I could choose to win just one event in my life, I’d choose that one.”
For Stewart, it was a difficult day, characterised by a number of missed, short putts and a number of shots pushed a long way right into deep rough.
“I didn’t play well today. I was dire, this morning. I don’t know what it was. I just didn’t feel comfortable over the ball,” explained the 21-year-old. “And the long game had an effect on my putting. Because I wasn’t hitting it as well as I wanted to, I felt more pressure over the putts.
“This morning, he wasn’t really winning holes, I was giving them to him, but this afternoon it was a much better game. I hit it good in the afternoon, and when I holed that one on 11, I thought “right, I’m going to win now.”
“All credit to him, though. I was thinking that I had to make birdie to win a hole, because he was getting up and down all day. He putted absolutely fantastic,” added the world number 36, who was well supported by members of the 700-strong galleries that had travelled down to watch him. “A lot of people came down from Troon, and I’m really grateful for that.”
Complete results from the 2011 Amateur Championship can be found on www.RandA.org, along with video highlights of each of the match play stages.
Next year’s Amateur Championship will take place on 18 – 23 June at Royal Troon Golf Club, Ayrshire, Scotland.