Paul McBride’s spirited bid for victory the Amateur Championship ended when he fell to Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre on the second extra hole in the semi-finals at Royal Porthcawl.
The 20 year old Dubliner, a student at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, booked his place in the last four with a wo-hole win against Walker Cup player Ewen Ferguson.
MacIntyre, the 2015 Scottish Amateur champion, trailed for most of the front nine but moved in front with birdies at the 11th and 12th holes and when McBride bogeyed the next it looked difficult for him to find a way back.
The Dubliner battled back to win the 17th, however, and took the match down the last where left-hander MacIntyre, 19, failed to get down in two with a putt from the back of the 18th green and lost the hole to a par.
On the first extra hole, McIntyre’s 10-foot birdie putt just missed on the left and the hole was halved.
But the Scot emerged victorious on the 20th, where he found the green in two and McBride bogeyed, chipping to 35 feet before failing to hole the putt coming back.
That left MacIntyre with two putts for the match and he duly took them to book his place in the final against England’s Scott Gregory.
Gregory played steady golf and was never behind as he eliminated Poland’s Adrian Meronk by 3&2 to secure his place in today’s 36-hole decider — the first Anglo-Scottish final since Stuart Wilson defeated Lee Cornfield at St Andrews in 2004
Gregory, who was runner-up in this year’s Spanish Amateur Championship, seized the initiative from the outset, winning the first hole with a par four after a slightly delayed start while surface water was cleared from the first green following a downpour.
Although he slipped up with a double bogey six on the 3rd, the 21-year-old England A international took control of the match around the turn winning three out of five holes from the eighth to go 4 up as Meronk, who is part of the European Arnold Palmer Cup team which will face the USA at Forby next week, struggled to find the form which had taken him to the semi-final.
Gregory, who was a finalist in the English Amateur Championship in 2014, sealed the win with a half in four at the 16th.
In the morning quarter-finals, Gregory saw off the challenge of Spain’s Javier Sainz by 5&4 while MacIntyre ended the run of another Spaniard, Ivan Cantero, with a 2&1 win.
Meronk defeated Frenchman Nicolas Maheut by 5&4 and McBride edged out Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson by two holes.
“I’m pretty chuffed – my game is in good shape. I’m hitting it really solidly tee to green. If I can just maintain that, keep hitting it close, and giving myself chances, I think I’ve got a good chance of getting something good tomorrow.
“I knew I had to play well. If I didn’t play well I knew I wasn’t going to win. I just had to go out there and stick to my game plan – try and hit fairways and greens and give myself putts. Fortunately I was able to do that and apply some pressure and move on from there. I got things rolling and just held onto it really.
“I’ve got a job tomorrow – I just need to take it one shot at a time – one hole at a time. If I play the best golf that I can play then I’ll be at The Open. But I’m not going to think too much about it.”
“It feels amazing to get to this point. It’s 36 holes tomorrow so we’ll see what happens. I’ve never felt better, getting to this point is unbelievable. If I can go one better tomorrow that’ll be the icing on the cake.
“Words can’t really describe how it would feel to win, not just to me but my family at home, my friends, and the small golf club that I come from, it would just be unbelievable.
“My attitude is never say die, it was two up with two to play, if I was two down with two to play, I’d always say I can win this match. Paul’s a great player, I’ve known him for a while now. I have just got to keep going in the Final now."
For scoring and results visit championships.randa.org