Friday, August 11, 2017

AYRSHIRE BOYS MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP - Euan Ferguson retains the title

2017 Ayrshire Boys Matchplay Champion
Euan Ferguson
Euan Ferguson (Turnberry) retained the Ayrshire Boys Matchplay Trophy on Thursday 10th August, with victory over Robbie Muir (Kilmarnock Barassie) in the final at Prestwick golf club.

The players enjoyed good conditions throughout the match and the scoring from both players was worthy of any county final.

Ferguson took the early lead, winning the opening hole with a conceded birdie putt from five feet after Muir failed to make par following his approach shot being a little strong and running through the green.

The players matches each other in par figures over the next three holes before Ferguson extended his lead to two holes when he holed an 8 foot putt for a birdie two at the fifth after Muir saw his own birdie attempt slip just past the left of the hole.

Ferguson mad a great recovery from through the green at the sixth for par to half the hole and a superb putt from the back of the green at the seventh to within a few inches of the hole gave Muir a par and a half there.

At the eighth hole both players had good birdie chances but Muir missed his whilst Ferguson holed for a winning birdie three to go three up in the match.

The finalists with Prestwick GC Captain Allan Cook
and match referee Scott Gilchrist
The match looked to be slipping away from Muir when he bunkered his tee shot at the ninth, but a good bunker shot and an approach to the green saw him secure a bogey five which was good enough to half the hole as Ferguson dropped his first shot to par in the match.

Three down as they turned for home, Muir needed to make an early move and a par at the tenth was good enough to give him the hole and reduce the deficit to two holes at that stage.

Ferguson looked favourite at the par three eleventh with his tee shot finishing just short of the green whilst Muir had blocked his into the right rough. Ferguson chipped close enough to ensure a par three but Muir produced an excellent chip over the greenside bunker and down the difficult slope on the green  to within fifteen feet of the hole, and holed for a par three to half the hole and keep the deficit to two holes.

Muir had the chance to reduce the deficit further at the twelfth but his birdie attempt pulled up just short of the hole and he remained two down.

At the long and difficult thirteenth hole, which had proved a pivotal hole in earlier rounds during the week, Ferguson found the green with two excellent shots whilst Muir was short and right of the green and facing a difficult approach over the bank of the green. Muir played a good chip and with Ferguson missing his birdie opportunity, Muir, to his credit, holed for a fine par four to half the hole.

Muir got another hole back at the fourteenth when both players hit fine approaches to within fifteen feet of the hole. After Ferguson saw his attempt slip just past the hole, Muir bravely holed his birdie putt to take the score in the match back to one down with four to play.

Ferguson looked favourite at the fifteenth when both players just missed the green with their approach shots, having a relatively straightforward chip up the green whilst Muir had to negotiate a severe right to left slope towards the hole.

Muir's chip was good, coming to rest four feed past the hole and leaving him a downhill left to right putt for par. Ferguson chipped up close and a par was conceded by Muir, who then bravely holed his par putt for a half.

At the sixteenth, Muir was short and right with his tee shot whilst Ferguson's drive finished pin high, just off the left of the green. Muir was unlucky with is chip up and over the deep hollow short of the sixteenth green, with his ball pulling up on a downslope just on the green and leaving him a difficult downhill putt for a birdie three. Ferguson chipped close and was conceded a birdie three and despite a brave attempt, Muir's putt remained above ground which left Ferguson dormie two in the match.

At the famous Alps hole, the seventeenth, both players found the green n two but despite a good effort, Muir saw his birdie putt stay above ground, leaving Ferguson with two putts for the match and the championship. The defending champion rolled his birdie effort to within a few inches of the hole, prompting a concession from Muir and giving Ferguson his second successive Ayrshire Boys Matchplay title.

Boys Matchplay Champion Euan Ferguson
with Prestwick GC Captain Allan Cook and
AGA President John Rushbury
The final was played in the most sporting and friendly manner and gave match referee Scott Gilchrist no issues to deal with throughout. The excellent standard of play was evidenced by the fact that, at the conclusion of the match, the winner was two under par for the holes played.

At the conclusion of the final, Ayrshire Golf Association President John Rushbury thanked Prestwick Golf Club Captain Allan Cook, who had been in attendance throughout the final, for allowing The Association the facilities to hold the championship at Prestwick GC once again, and thanked the competitors and officials who took part in the championship throughout the week for their efforts.

Captain Allan Cook of the host club concluded proceedings bu presenting vouchers to both finalists before handing over the Ayrshire Boys Matchplay trophy and commemorative medal to the 2017 champion Euan Ferguson.

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