Tom Gueant of France defeated Wilmer Ederö of Sweden on the 37th hole to win the 93rd R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship at Saunton today.
“This is one of the greatest junior championships in the world and I think the biggest in Europe so I am really happy to be the champion this year.
“Standing over the winning putt I was just saying to myself, this is just a putt like I have had a million times, just make it and it will be good.
“It was really good to have my dad with me and I am really happy to have had that moment. He is always supporting me and I really want to thank him for that.”
Gueant becomes the first Frenchman to lift the trophy since Patrick Cros’ victory at Olton in 1960. He will now play in The 125th Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale and West Lancashire, and gains an exemption into Final Qualifying for The 149th Open, at Royal St Georges, as a result of his victory.
In a nervy start, Gueant and Ederö both opened with bogeys, the Frenchman adding another at the 2nd to give his opponent a one-hole advantage. Ederö then made a bogey at the third for the match to be squared.
In true links fashion, the conditions at Saunton were challenging through the opening 18 holes and it was mistakes as much as converted opportunities that dictated the lead.
A bogey five on the 7th hole from Gueant saw Ederö once again take a one-hole lead which the 15-year-old Swede extended by making the only birdie in the opening 18 holes of the match at the par four 10th hole.
Showing great composure, Gueant parred his way into the clubhouse winning four holes to take a two-hole lead as Ederö continued to battle with the conditions. He recorded bogeys on the 12th and 14th and the two closing holes to hand his opponent the advantage going into the afternoon of the 36 hole final.
Gueant’s lead quickly evaporated, however, as he conceded the 20th and lost the 21st with a bogey. A further error on the 22nd saw his Swedish opponent reclaim the lead for the first time since the 13th hole. Gueant responded with his first birdie of the day on the 23rd hole to level the match for the fifth time.
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A bogey from Ederö on the 25th hole saw him go one down but he fought back with a birdie on the 27th to square the match. The 15-year-old continued to show plenty of determination setting up a birdie opportunity on the 30th hole which just slid past the hole.
Ederö seemed to have seized the initiative when he birdied the 32nd and 33rd holes to take a two-hole advantage on Gueant but the Frenchman rallied impressively to stage a late comeback, winning the 35th and 36th holes to take the match to extra holes. A birdie three on the 37th hole was enough to seal a hard-fought victory for Gueant.
“It’s a very long week and I played very well except for the first round. I am proud but it’s tough to lose like this after being dormie at 17 and 18.
“I have learned a lot this week, that I need to work on a lot of shots around the green and you can’t hit the green every time so to make par sometimes you need to chip in. So, lots to take with me.”
The 94th Boys Amateur Championship will be played at Moortown and Alwoodley in England, from 11 – 16 August 2020.