Northern Ireland’s Alan Dunbar defeated Austrian teenager Matthias Schwab 1 up at Royal Troon on Saturday to win the British Amateur and earn an invitation to the 2013 Masters Tournament.
Dunbar, 23, is just the third Northern Irish winner after Michael Hoey in 2001 and Garth McGimpsey in 1985. His victory keeps alive a streak of success by Northern Ireland golfers that goes back to Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy winning the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Opens, and includes Darren Clarke’s win in the 2011 British Open.
According to media release from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, it was the first final to go all 36 holes since Spain’s Alejandro Larrazabal defeated Martin Sell in 2002.
“My putting was great all week,” Dunbar said in the release. “I struggled with the long game as the week went on and I had to rely on my putting.”
Schwab, 17, entered the afternoon round 1 up after the first 18 holes. Dunbar responded by going 2 up after five holes of the afternoon 18.
Schwab was 1 up going into the final two holes, but Dunbar made pars at 17 and 18 while the teen failed to save par on both holes. Dunbar claimed victory when Schwab missed a four-foot par putt on the final hole.
“I had a lesson with my coach Seamus Duffy last week at Castlerock, and he said if you win the Amateur you’re taking me to the Masters,” Dunbar said. “So I suppose that was a bit of motivation.”
Schwab was bidding to become the first Austrian to win the British Amateur and the first from his country to play in the Masters.
“It was good for me to see that I can compete with the best amateurs in the world,” said Schwab, who will play at Vanderbilt. “I drove the ball well and hit good iron shots but there are lots of deficits in my short game, my chipping and putting, so I know what to work on.”