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Ferguson steady in the storm to take boys' title

Ewen Ferguson shows off his trophy
Ewen Ferguson shows off his trophy

The good folk of the Bearsden Golf Club are getting used to this celebration lark. They'll probably not require much encouragement to indulge in a decent gargle, mind you.

Eight months after Ewen Ferguson romped to victory in the British Boys' Championship at Hoylake, the 17-year-old provided the opportunity for his fellow members to raise another glass in triumph as he added the Scottish Boys' Championship to his burgeoning pile of honours at a boisterous West Kilbride.

Buffeted by strong winds and the occasional heavy downpour, Ferguson harnessed the elements to fine effect and emerged with a 6 and 5 victory over Ben Kinsley of St Andrews in the 36-hole final. The top seed ended the week as the top dog and became the first player to hold both titles since Steven O'Hara claimed a notable double in 1998.

Those who opted out of the Saturday medal at Bearsden to lend their support on the sidelines were rewarded. "My dad had told them to get their arses down to West Kilbride," said Ferguson with a smile. "There were about 30 of them and they were great."

Ferguson certainly gave them plenty to savour and, despite the challenging and demanding conditions, he conjured some eye-catching matchplay golf.

The foundations for his success were hammered down on the inward half of the morning round which seemed to feature more chips-in than a deep-fat fryer at closing time. Kinsley had squared the tie on the 12th by dunting in for a birdie from off the green but, having edged ahead with a birdie of his own on the next, Ferguson chipped in from 30 yards for an eagle two on the 14th to double that advantage.

The next key moment, which again illustrated the fluctuating fortunes of the one-to-one format, arrived on the 16th. With Kinsley some 10 feet away with his approach, Ferguson, bunkered after a raking drive, produced a sublime, 55-yard recovery from the sand and plonked his ball to within eight feet.

Kinsley, not for the first time during the day, missed his birdie opportunity and Ferguson ruthlessly trundled home his to move three ahead.

If Kinsley was left scunnered by that, then his shoulders swiftly drooped to half-mast on the 18th. Having set up another birdie chance, he watched his upbeat opponent chip in again for a birdie before missing his own putt to fall four behind.

"Chipping in like that is a real kick in the balls," said Ferguson. During that British Boys' final last summer, the Bearsden teenager had also been four up at lunch and roared on to a 10 and 9 win. The signs were ominous for Kinsley.

"I think his head went down after that," said Ferguson.

He didn't quite run away with it this time. In the brutal conditions, they were doing well to stand up at times. Par was precious and the first birdies of the afternoon did not arrive until the 29th hole.

By that stage, Ferguson was five holes to the good and he finally put the tin lid on the contest by two-putting from 15 feet for a par-4 on the 31st. "I was actually getting a wee bit nervous in the afternoon," admitted Ferguson. "I started looking too far ahead and the mind was racing a bit. It's not a nice feeling and I had to keep telling myself to calm down."

Kinsley, aiming to become the first St Andrews champion since 1960, instead became the Auld Grey Toon's third successive runner-up.

"All the 10-footers I holed earlier in the week I missed today and that was the difference between being all square at lunch and four-down," he said.

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