Britain was toasting its first US Amateur champion for 95 years last night, after Aberdeen’s Richie Ramsay defeated John Kelly of the USA 4&2 in the final of the presitigious competition at Hazeltine, Minnesota.
The 23 year-old from Stirling University made a birdie three at the par-4 16th hole to clinch victory in the 36 hole matchplay final. It is the fist time a Briton has won the US Amateur Championship since Royal Liverpool’s Harold Hilton, who was Golf Monthly magazine’s first editor, won in 1911. The last Briton to even reach the final was Jack McLean in 1936.
“There’s been a lot of ups and downs in my golfing career so far and I can’t believe I’m here,” he said after his momentous victory.
“I tried to play to my gameplan and sometimes it didn’t come off, sometimes it did. We just were going out there to try and have some fun. I’ve been swinging it fairly good all week, which gave me a bit of confidence. A lot of it is mental out there and my mental game was first class all week.”
Italy’s Edoardo Molinari clinched the title in 2005, making him the first European since Hilton to win the title. Now Ramsay has added to America’s biggest lean spell (albeit only two years) in the event in almost a century.
If he decides to retain his amateur status next season then Ramsay will enjoy a host of exemptions at the world’s most glamorous tournaments. He will not have to qualify for the 2007 Masters, US Open or Open Championship, and will be paired with defending champion Phil Mickelson in the opening two rounds of the Masters at Augusta in April.