Jun 24 2011 by Mike WIlson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
GUTTED WELBECK wonder Michael Stewart admitted he blew the chance of a dream ticket to The Open and US Masters.
The 21-year-old Troon star failed in his bid for a historic treble when he lost 3&2 in the final of the Amateur Championship to Aussie star Bryden Macpherson.
Stewart, last year's SGU order of merit winner, won the Scottish Amateur at Gullane last summer and the South African championship in February.
But the world number 36’s hopes were blown away in a pulsating final at Hillside despite big support from Ayrshire in the 700 strong gallery.
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.
He reflected: “I didn’t play well. I was dire, this morning. I don’t know what it was. I just didn’t feel comfortable over the ball.
“The long game had an effect on my putting. Because I wasn’t hitting it as well as I wanted to, I felt more pressure over the putts.
“This morning, Bryden wasn’t 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, I’m 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.”
Stewart raced ahead at the first. Although he lost the second, he won the third to restore his lead.
However, Stewart three-putted the sixth to go back to level and was never back in front.
Macpherson was two ahead after the morning round and he quickly increased that to three after 19. A birdie and an eagle cut the deficit to one.
A mistake at the 27th handed the momentum back to the Aussie as he went two up going into the homeward nine. But a superb sand save at the short 10th (28th) got Stewart back to one.
He followed that with a 25-foot birdie putt to half the 29th but a three-putt at the 32nd left him two down with four to play.
Macpherson won the next with a birdie three to go three up and despite a superb tee-shot from 220 yards to 15-feet at the 34th, Stewart couldn't putt out, leaving Macpherson's par good enough to clinch the title.