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Issue:- 23 June 2011

116th Amateur Championship
Photographs by Patrick Trollope.

WHAT a fantastic end to a week of golfing action at Hillside Golf Club. 288 world ranked amateur golfers, from 35 countries, taking to the course; it was anyoneís guess as to who would get through. At stake for all competing was the coveted Amateur Championship Trophy, a place in the 2011 Open Championship and an invitation to the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National! The weeklong event ended on 18 June 2011, when spectators got to see what was an amazing game between Scotlandís Michael Stewart and Australiaís Bryden Macpherson, under blue sky. Speaking before the final, Macpherson said:- "The Open is my dream tournament. As the title suggests itís The Open, and if I could choose to win just one event in my life, Iíd choose that one." It was a refreshing change to see these golfers, as even through this tightly fought match, they joked with each other and even, at times, with the spectators! One of the many spectators who had followed the action throughout the event commented:- "These lads are real stars. They are so friendly and the make amazing ambassadors for the game. I am an avid follower of the sport and I play at Royal Birkdale. I am used to the professional golfers at events like the Open Gold, but I have never seen the players so friendly and enjoying the game as I have with these players on a final. They both are stars of the sport in my mind." This was view echoed by many of the spectators who had come to watch. But for Michael, it was not going to be, despite a valiant effort. The event ended with the 20 year old Bryden taking the cup in the 36 hole final. Macpherson, who has just finished his sophomore year at the University of Georgia, now becomes the second ever Australian to win the Amateur Championship; the first being Doug Bachli in 1954.

At the end of the game he told the press:- ďI canít believe it just yet. It feels pretty good to bridge the gap of 57 years. I hope there are a few proud Aussies having a barbeque.Ē

The Victorian went one down after the 1st hole of the day, but after winning the 6th hole with a four, and likewise the 9th, he establish a lead that would last until he closed out victory on the 34th green.

He later said that:- ďMy 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, as itís amazing how much people love their golf round here. Itís a credit to them."

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 didnít play well today. I was dire, this morning. I donít know what it was. I just didnít feel comfortable over the ball. And the long game had an effect on my putting. Because I wasnít hitting it as well as I wanted to, I felt more pressure over the putts. This morning, he wasnít 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, Iím 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 supporters, from Galloway, who had travelled down to watch him. ďA lot of people came down from Troon, and Iím really grateful for that.Ē

Complete results from the 2011 Amateur Championship can be found on:- RandA.org, along with video highlights of each of the match play stages.

Next yearís Amateur Championship will take place on 18 June to 23 June 2012, at Royal Troon Golf Club, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Sadly we could only cover the last two semi finals on the Friday and the amazing final on the Saturday, with our photographic coverage, so please enjoy the images.

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