Northern Ireland’s Alan Dunbar defeated Matthias Schwab of Austria by one hole to win the 117th Amateur Championship at Royal Troon in Ayrshire.
The 23-year-old from Portrush has become the third Northern Irish winner of the event, following Garth McGimpsey and Michael Hoey. He is the first player from GB&I to win the Amateur since Ireland’s Brian McElhinney in 2005.
In a fascinating final, the lead changed hands five times over the course of 36 holes and the contest went the distance, the first final to cover all 36 holes since 2002.
Schwab looked to have taken control when he went one-up through 16 holes in the afternoon round. But the young 17-year-old from Salzburg was let down by his short game on the closing two.
On both the 17th and 18th holes, Schwab failed to get up-and-down to save par while Dunbar made two solid pars to sneak the contest by one hole.
“My putting was great all week,” Dunbar said. “I struggled with the long game as the week went on and I had to rely on my putting.”
With the victory, Dunbar will receive a spot in the Open Championship at Lytham, a start in next year’s US Open and he will be given an invite to play in next April’s US Masters.
Schwab was obviously disappointed to fall at the final hurdle, but the youngster was proud of his achievements through the week.
“It was good for me to see that I can compete with the best amateurs in the world,” he said. “I’m happy to be second. I came here to make the cut and made the final so there’s no need to be negative.”
Next year’s Amateur Championship will take place on 17-22 June at Royal Cinque Ports and Princes in Kent, England.
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