Courageous Calum Scott is one of only two Scottish contenders still standing in the Amateur Championship at Nairn Golf Club.
The 17-year-old, playing on his home patch, came through two nerve-shredding 19th hole matches on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals.
Tomorrow at 8.30am, he will take on James Ashfield, from Wales, the 2019 Scottish Boys’ Amateur champion.
Birdie for Calum on the 19th hole 💥
After going 1 down with a hole to go, Calum Scott turns the tie on its head and secures his place in the final 8️⃣ of The Amateur Championship.
A fantastic effort Calum 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/ppY4RA5onX
— The Nairn Golf Club (@NairnGolfClub) June 17, 2021
Fellow Scot John Paterson (New Club St Andrews) is also in the last eight, where he will face Englishman Monty Scowsill.
As the week has progressed, so has the interest in home favourite Scott, with a large members-only following willing every ball on, encouraging him all the way.
Scott comes out on top of two intense ties
Scott’s day begun with a nail-biting 19th hole win against Iceland’s Hlynur Bergsson.
After a storming start where he held a five-hole lead, the young Highlander was soon fearing a defeat in a toe-to-toe contest which went the distance.
However, Scott, who beat England’s former Boys’ Amateur champion Connor Gough on Wednesday, held his nerve to progress.
The swift turnaround meant the golfers had little time to dwell on their morning efforts and Scott faced Harley Smith (The Rayleigh Club) at 1.40pm in one of this week’s many Scotland v England showdowns.
The tension cranked up several notches near the end when Smith took a one-shot lead with just one hole to play.
Scott won the 18th with all eyes on him, then birdied the 19th hole to edge into the quarter-finals to the delight of the crowd.
‘Knackered’ Scott is the pride of Nairn and beyond
Still pinching himself moments after stepping off the course he knows so well, he said: “I still can’t believe it. It’s not kicked in yet. It was unbelievable.
“When everyone was cheering on the tee shot and on the green it was amazing.
“To be in the quarter-finals is amazing and I am really happy.
“I’m knackered. To play 38 holes in one day is not easy, especially with a lot of pressure.
“Harley’s a great competitor. It was a good match. We just played good, solid par golf with birdies here and there. It was nice to catch a birdie on the play-off hole to take the win.”
As one of only two Scots going for glory, Scott admits he loves the friendly rivalry between the nations as the competition enters its final stages.
He explained: “It’s great and John and I might meet in the semis if we both win.
“It’s good to see two Scots involved. We are just hanging in there.
“Scotland against any of the British and Irish golfers is always a good rivalry.”
Credit given to Icelandic opponent
Looking back at his dramatic win over Bergsson at lunchtime, he said: “Hlynur made so many good putts, so fair play to him.
“He kept clawing it back and he hit the bunker in the first play-off hole and that helped me relax a bit. I was then on the green, so I was happy.
“I got away with it.”
Scott’s next opponent Ashfield is the sole Welsh contender left, while five English entrants have their eyes on the prize, including highly-rated Walker Cup player Jack Dyer.
Paterson from St Andrews keeps challenge alive
By the afternoon’s third round, Scott and Paterson were already the last Scots standing.
Paterson reached the last 16 thanks to a 19th hole birdie victory over England’s Rory Browne (Feldon Valley).
He then booked his last-eight position by winning 3&2 against England’s Josef Hacker (La Moye, Jersey).
The full quarter-final draw and start times are listed here.
Saturday’s 36-hole final, which gets under way at 8.30am, will air live on the R&A’s YouTube and Facebook channels, as well as RandA.org.
The Amateur champion this weekend will receive full exemptions to The Open Championship and the US Open, and is also traditionally invited to the Masters Tournament. They will also receive an invitation to compete in a European Tour event.
- See the Press and Journal website for more details and exclusive photographs from the Amateur Championship at Nairn