Lester reaches British Boys final

Rowan Lester. Picture © The R and A

Hermitage's Rowan Lester is just one win away from joining Irish winners Jimmy Bruen, John Glover, Ronan Rafferty and Leslie Walker in the history books after he compiled two impressive victories to reach Sunday's final of the 88th British Boys Amateur Championship at Prestwick - the original home of the Open Championship.

Michael Hoey the British Amateur Championship there in 2001 and Lester, 18, now has an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the likes of José María Olazábal or Sergio Garcia after he beat Kristoffer Reitan of Norway 4 and 2 before seeing off Welshman Tim Harry two up in the semi-finals. Scoring

He will face 16-year old Oskar Bergqvist in the 36-hole final from 8.30am after the Swede, ranked 425th in the world, beat Denmark's Christoffer Bring 3 and 2 before ousting holder Ewen Ferguson of Scotland with a birdie at the 19th in the semi-finals.

“I feel great, I’m really confident in my game and I’m going to try and go out there tomorrow and enjoy it really," Lester said. "Normally I am quite nervous in tournaments but for some reason I haven’t felt very many nerves at all, which is good.”

The competitors faced difficult conditions with blustery winds and driving rain throughout the day. After sending Norway’s Reitan home with a 2 and 1 victory in the morning quarterfinal, Lester faced Harry for a place in the final.

Oskar Bergqvist. Picture © The R and A

The pair halved the first hole with pars and when Harry bogeyed the second Lester took the lead and didn’t relinquish it for the rest of the match. He gained momentum with a birdie on the 3rd hole and despite a run of bogeys he was able to secure his victory with a second birdie to win the 16th hole.

He added: “Today I was just that bit better than Tim, he was a touch off while I played pretty well. I handed him a few holes but I was able to get them back with a few good up-and-downs."

Bergqvist has enjoyed a smoother path to the Final and hadn’t required more than 16 holes in any of his matches until his Semi-Final with Ferguson. The Swede had earlier enjoyed a 3&2 win over Denmark’s Christoffer Bring.

The Semi-Final was a closely contested affair with neither player able to take more than a one hole advantage over the other. Ferguson carded his second birdie of the day on the 15th to regain the lead after Bergqvist dropped a shot but the match quickly returned to all square when the Swede answered back with a birdie to win the next hole. 

With the pair still tied on the par-4 18th, Ferguson placed his approach shot to within five feet before Bergqvist rolled in a ten-footer to save par. When Ferguson missed his birdie putt to close out the match the pair moved back to the first tee.

With a large gallery of spectators gathered around the green, Ferguson hit his approach to twelve feet and pin high before Bergqvist played a brilliant shot from the rough that landed three feet from the pin. With the match on the line, Ferguson failed to sink the putt and his fate was sealed by Bergqvist’s birdie.

“I’m feeling terrible, this wasn’t my game," Bergqvist said. "It was Ewen’s game all along. He missed a couple of putts and I holed a couple of putts but he should be the one in the final.

“I’m very proud to represent Sweden here. I’m going to try to be prepared to 100% for tomorrow.”

The 36-hole final will begin at 8:30 am on Sunday with the second 18 holes to be played at approximately 1:00pm.  For a full round-up of scores from the Boys Amateur please visit Championships.RandA.org.