English Amateur champion Jack Cope added the St Andrews Links Trophy to his collection on the fourth extra hole after a dramatic finish on the Old Course.
As many as 10 players had a shot at the title coming up the famous 18th in the most prestigious strokeplay event on the amateur calendar. In the end Cope, fellow Englishman Robin “Tiger” Williams and reigning Scottish amateur champion George Burns were left at eight-under, a shot ahead of six others.
The 22-year-old from The Players club near Bristol finally prevailed at the fourth extra hole, the 18th, which he birdied all five times he played during competition, driving the green every time and two-putting.
That was eventually enough to beat Burns and Williams, the former Junior Ryder Cup player from Peterborough hitting perilously close to the OB fence on the fourth play=off hole, pitching up but missing his birdie putt.
Fifth time lucky in play-offs for Cope
Cope’s win was perhaps deservedly so as his final round five-under 67 was the equal best of the final day. It was matched only by the teenage Scot Reuben Lindsay, who finished just a shot out of the play-off.
In the play-off, Cope just figured it was his time at last.
“I’ve played four play-offs in my life and lost every one before,” he said. “It had to be fifth time lucky, I suppose.
“I just tried to stay very much in the present. This morning I knew that I was capable of shooting two good scores to get into this. After the English Am last year I feel I know how to win. I wasn’t going to be overawed by the situation.
“The play-off, I maybe played my best golf tee-to-green all week on those four holes. At the 18th my strategy was to go for it every time. I really committed to the shot, and the last two were two of the best shots I’ve hit this week.
“I was always thinking, I’m here to win, I’m not going to have any regrets. If I try and shot and it doesn’t come off, so be it.”
Cope attended the golf programme at Stirling University so was no stranger to the Old Course or Scottish conditions.
‘You think of who’s played here and won here’
“I love coming here to the Home of Golf, I was at University in Scotland for a few years and I played all the courses here.
“I particularly like the Old Course, of course you do, you just walk round and think who’s won here and played here. Playing four holes of play-off on the first and 18th, that’s two special golf holes to play.”
Williams, from the Peterborough Milton club, was named by his father after Tiger Woods. He played in the European Junior Ryder Cup team in France in 2018 and won a professional event on the MENA Tour in 2019.
Burns, still the Scottish Amateur champion form his home course at Crail two years ago, birdied the final hole in regulation to get into play-off but was the first to be eliminated.
Lindsay, who is coached by Robert MacIntyre’s coach Davie Burns, and Auchterarder’s Rory Franssen both finished one shot out of the play-off sharing fourth place on seven-under.