Success for Portuguese teenager as he triumphs at the end of ‘long week’ in Nairn
By Chris Johnston
Portugal's Pedro Lencart defeated defending champion Falko Hanisch 5&4 to win the 91st Boys Amateur Championship at Nairn.
Lencart, who won The R&A’s Junior Open in 2016, becomes the first player since Spain’s Sergio Garcia to win both titles. He will now play in the 123rd Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links in 2018, and gains an exemption into Final Qualifying for The 147th Open as a result of his victory.
The 17-year-old teed off for the second round of the final six-up over Hanisch after a blistering opening 18 holes that included nine birdies. Hanisch, who lifted the trophy at Muirfield in 2016, struggled to deal with Lencart and faced an uphill battle if he was to become the first player since 1930 to win back-to-back championships.
A fightback by the German that started with a birdie at the 19th wasn’t enough, as Lencart relied on some excellent putting to keep his advantage in the match, eventually winning 5&4,
“I’m really happy,” said Lencart. “It has been a long week. It was really tough on these courses and in this weather but I am really happy with the way I handled it.
“It was a good start. I played really well, especially on the back nine. I made a lot of birdies - it was good to start like that because Falko played well the second 18. It was tough to keep tying holes and keep staying at that level.
“My putting improved a lot during the week. That was the key point for me.
“It’s a really good championship. You can make a lot of friends here. The Spanish guys are very friendly and the other guys I played with were very friendly as well. They sent me some messages to say they wanted me to win before the final. That was really nice.”
On winning both the Junior Open and the Boys Amateur Championship, he said he just seemed to suit playing links style golf.
“I like these types of courses, I like playing here,” he said. “It’s two tournaments on links courses, although this one is a bit different to Kilmarnock (Barassie), but it’s nice to have won both.”
Hanisch admitted he didn’t play his best golf, but said he wasn’t too despondent.
“You can’t always play perfect,” he said. “I’m just happy to be in the final again. I’m looking forward to playing in The Amateur Championship next year.
“I’m not sad - he played really good. In good moments, he made birdies. I had a good comeback on the third nine holes but unfortunately for me he just played too good today.
“We talked a lot to each other. He’s a cool guy. It didn’t feel like it was a final where you couldn’t talk to your opponent - it was a cool round of golf. So, it was good atmosphere.
“I was close to missing the cut but after I made it, it was just like last year. I played great golf and had fun so I am really satisfied with this result even if it is not the win.”
The 92nd Boys Amateur Championship will be played at Royal Portrush and Portstewart from August 14-19, 2018.