Ice-cool home favourite Calum Scott will face Iceland’s Hlynur Bergsson in the second round of the matchplay stages of the Amateur Championship in Nairn tomorrow.
The 17-year-old is using his home course knowledge and delivering the goods, with little or no hint that he’s feeling the heat.
He eased through Monday and Tuesday’s strokeplay rounds with the fifth-best score overall.
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The local lad followed that up with a 3&2 midweek win over Walker Cup player and former Boys’ Amateur champion Conor Gough from Stoke Park in England.
Focusing on own game was key, says Scott
That potentially dangerous meeting was dealt with thanks to another fine display.
Scott said: “I’m really pleased to win. It was a bit stressful towards the end, but I managed to get the job done.
“Conor won the Boys’ Amateur, so has a good matchplay record, but I just played my own game and tried to enjoy it.
“It’s not often you get The Amateur Championship at your home club and the support is really nice too.
“I’ve played here for over 10 years. I know a lot of the green reads and also where to miss it out here. It’s a good advantage in the matchplay environment.
“The front nine was difficult into the wind, but I played well which was key.”
Keeping emotions in check
When asked if he feels as cool as he looks out there, he said: “I don’t show nerves, but I do feel them. I’m just trying to enjoy it and I’m happy I’ve made it this far.”
His match against Bergsson tees off at 8.24am on Thursday morning.
Bergsson reached the last 32 thanks to a 3&2 victory over Matt Roberts from Wales, having come through the strokeplay on Monday and Tuesday on two over par, five shots behind Scott.
Paterson led the Scots’ charge into Thursday’s draw
John Paterson from New Club St Andrews was the first Scot to make it through on Wednesday.
The US-based golfer saw off the oldest competitor at the championship, 57-year-old Derek Paton from Dunnikier Park.
Paterson, who will take on England’s Rory Brown at 7.48am, was thrilled to have remained consistent to keep Paton at bay.
He said: “I started off solidly and birdied four, five and six to get the ball rolling and I held on from there and made a couple more birdies on 10 and 11.
“I hit the ball really well in qualifying and started to hole some putts, which has given me confidence for the rest of the tournament.
“I played the Boys’ Amateur here in 2017 and it’s a lovely golf course, which I’m comfortable on.”
From Colorado to the Highlands for Paterson
Paterson, who is one of six Scottish contenders for the trophy, is enjoying the fresh challenges on links golf once more.
He explained: “I’ve not been home for a year almost, so I’m trying to relearn links golf again and it’s good to be back. I’ve just finished my third year at the University of Colorado.”
Of his opponent, he said: “Derek is a great guy. He has got the Scottish Seniors at Duff House this afternoon, another event, so best of luck to him for that. He had a back-up plan.”
Fellow Scots joining Scott and Paterson in round two are Scottish champion George Burns (Williamwood), Andrew Ni (Murrayfield), Connor Wilson (Castle Park) and Lewis Irvine (Kirkhill, in Cambuslang).
Record-breaking Clark bows out in midweek opener
A big surprise as the matchplay got started was Kilmacolm’s Matthew Clark, who hit a course record of 62 the day before, losing 5&4 to Dartford’s Mason Essam.
Clark had roared to the top of the scoreboard, one shot clear of England’s Jack Dyer, who was a 6&5 winner against Norway’s Markus Braadlie.
Dyer plays Scotland’s Lewis Irvine at 9.50am in round two.
Full exemptions to The Open Championship, the US Open and the Masters Tournament as well as a place on a European Tour event await the winner of the Championship here in Nairn this weekend.
- See the Press and Journal website for more details and exclusive photographs from the Amateur Championship in Nairn.