Monty Scowsill is firmly in control at the halfway point of the 126th Amateur Championship final at Nairn.
The all-English showdown, being played over 36 holes, sees Scowsill of Woodbridge holds a seven-hole advantage of Rye’s Shepherd, who lives in St Andrews.
There is no stopping @mjscowsill 🔥
The Suffolk native is now 7UP and the putter is rolling perfectly 👌
— The R&A (@RandA) June 19, 2021
These former R&A scholars got started in fairly calm conditions at 8.30am.
The finishing touches are being made to he course this morning ahead of a huge day.
Welcome, to the final day of The Amateur Championship 🙌 pic.twitter.com/vrShLJOuX0
— The Nairn Golf Club (@NairnGolfClub) June 19, 2021
Shepherd holds the higher WAGR, or World Amateur Golf Ranking, at 846, with Scowsill at 1181.
Calm weather for first swing in the Nairn sunshine
The still, breeze-free, conditions were perfect for a high-scoring encounter.
Shepherd came close to winning any or all of the first three holes, but it remained all square until Scowsill grasped the advantage in quick succession to open up a three-hole advantage over five and six.
Two long putts and a chip-in took the scoreline to four up after nine holes and he continued to calmly putt clinically to move eight clear with one hole to play before the break.
Shepherd won first hole at the 18th
Thankfully for Shepherd, who hasn’t been playing badly, it was him who won his first hole, at the 18th, to ensure seven was the midway deficit he had to bite into when the action resumes at 1pm.
The prize on offer is massive for tonight’s champion.
The winner gains an exemption into The 149th Open at Royal St George’s, the 2022 US Open and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.
The victor will also be invited to play on a European Tour event.
🏌️ Monty Scowsill vs Laird Shepherd 🏌️
📺 R&A's Facebook and YouTube channel
— The R&A (@RandA) June 18, 2021
Shepherd stunned Dyer and Scowsill edged out Ashfield in semis
In yesterday’s semi-final, Shepherd clinched a one-hole semi-final triumph over Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup player Jack Dyer, closing with a superb three-wood into the par-five 18th for a winning birdie.
In the other closely-fought semi, Scowsill came through against James Ashfield from Walkes by two holes.
Ashfield, who knocked out Nairn’s Calum Scott yesterday morning, found trouble on the right with his second shot, took a penalty drop line of sight back around 100 yards and promptly chipped in for bogey to halve the hole.
However, it was Woodbridge’s Scowsill who held his nerve to triumph, helped by a birdie at the 15th.
- You can watch the final live on the R&A’s Facebook and YouTube channels as well as RandA.org