Capital ace Euan McIntosh rounded off one of the best performances in the history of the Scottish Amateur Championship by claiming the title at the age of 49 with a hard-earned success in the 36-hole final at Blairgowrie.
The Turnhouse player, who took a 10-year break from the game following a spell as a professional before returning as a reinstated amateur, beat 18-year-old Jamie Stewart from Old Ranfurly 3&2 in the title decider over the Rosemount course at the Perthshire venue.
McIntosh, who is planning a second bite of the cherry in the paid ranks after he turns 50, was a combined 10-under-par for the holes played in the final, with his only bogey coming at the opening hole. He is the oldest player to claim the title since the legendary Charlie Green recorded the last of his three victories when beating John Huggan in the 1983 event at Gullane just short of his 50th birthday.
“It feels amazing, it hasn’t sunk in yet, at 49-years old to win this championship is great. When I get home this evening, I’ll take it all in,” said McIntosh, who was born in Glasgow but has been based in the Edinburgh area most of his life.
“I tell you this right now, I would not have won my second round match, had I not spoken to Ian Rae, the Scottish national coach. He gave me a tip that transformed the way that I play match-play, because I haven’t performed well in match-play since I came back in 2016.
“He basically told me to stop focusing on what my opponent was doing and to ask myself, ‘what am I going to do.’ Forget what they have done, focus on what you can control, and that is what I did over every shot from then on.”
McIntosh, who bridged a 27-year gap when he returned to the Scotland side for the Home Internationals in 2016, was behind until reeling off an eagle and three birdies in five holes in the morning round.
He was one up at the halfway stage and quickly went two up before Stewart fought back to square matters but four birdies in six holes from the ninth helped McIntosh to come out on top against his much younger opponent.
“The plan is still to turn professional once again and have a go at the Seniors Tour next year,” added the new champion. “I turn 50 in February and qualifying in America is in November.”
Stewart, a former Scottish Under-16 champion, was gracious in defeat. “I’m gutted to have lost the final today, I just didn’t have my best stuff,” he said. “But congratulations to Euan, who was a deserving winner in the end, I wish him all the best for the future.”
Among those in the crowd at Blairgowrie was McIntosh’s long-time friend Alan Tait, the former director of golf at Dalmahoy and, more recently, general manager at Deer Park in Livingston.
“An incredible story,” said Tait of McIntosh becoming Scottish champion so close to 50.
“I’ve known Euan since we were foursomes partners in the Scottish Boys’ team when we were 16, and we’ve remained great friends ever since.
“He fell out of love for the game when he was in his late 20s early 30s and literally never hit a ball for about 15 years. He didn’t even own a set of clubs. He had more or less given up for good. But his comeback over the last two or three years has been quite extraordinary.”