Angus Carrick completed a unique family double when he beat Connor Wilson by two holes in the final of the 2021 Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship at Murcar Links north of Aberdeen.
Angus’ father, David Carrick, claimed the title at Southerness in 1985 and 36 years later, Angus, a member at Craigielaw near Muirfield, emulated that feat to join an illustrious group of champions that also includes Ryder Cup players Colin Montgomerie, Stephen Gallacher and Eric Brown and current Scottish No 1 Robert MacIntyre.
With his father, a former Walker Cup player, watching on, the 27-year-old Carrick came from behind to beat 14-year-old Connor Graham in the semi-finals and then produced a late charge to overhaul Wilson and follow in the family footsteps. Wilson, from Castle Park, had earlier beaten Murrayfield’s Andrew Ni, 4 and 3, to earn his tilt at the title.
“I’m absolutely speechless, it’s all been a blur,” said the new champion. “In fact, I’m still not sure what’s actually happened.
“I knew my game was good enough to compete and to win, so I went out and gave it my all.
“It was a really tough game. We both hit some great shots and even after nine rounds of golf, or whatever it is, we were both playing very well. Yeah, there were a few tired swings in there, but not many. I think it was just the last six holes where I won it. I still can’t really remember what happened, but my caddie told me I had four birdies. So, I came back strong and ultimately that’s what won it for me.
“It’s great to emulate dad,” he added. “And great that we’ve now both got our names on the trophy. It’s nice, really nice, that we’ll always have that to share.”
One of the first people to congratulate the new champion was his father.
“I’m immensely proud of him,” the elder Carrick said. “He played great golf the last four rounds and thoroughly deserved to win. I’m delighted now to be known as Angus Carrick’s father, rather than Angus being my son. It’s a fantastic result.”
For much of the earlier part of the week, most of the attention surrounded Williamwood’s George Burns as he endeavoured to become the first player to successfully defend the title since the legendary Charlie Green all the way back in 1985.
That storyline lasted all the way through to the quarter-finals when Burns lost by one hole to Ni. By that stage his exploits had been superseded by 14-year-old Graham’s bid to become the youngest player to lift the trophy since the championship was inaugurated in 1922.
Two years ago, when Graham made his debut at age 12 as a late replacement alongside dad, Stuart, and brother, Gregor, the young Blairgowrie member had just one thing on his mind.
“I would like to beat my dad this week,” Graham said with his father looking on. “I have beaten him a few times now. I’m very excited about playing this week and it’s definitely the biggest tournament I’ve ever played in.
“I have no expectations,” he added. “Everyone will be much older than me so I’m just going to go out and enjoy it. There will be people hitting it 200 yards past me, so I’m really not that worried.”
“It’s great to emulate dad, and great that we’ve now both got our names on the trophy. It’s nice, really nice, that we’ll always have that to share.”
Graham was barely bigger than his driver in 2019. He has subsequently filled out and developed into one of his country’s top junior golfers but even now he was not sure what to expect when he arrived in Aberdeen for his second appearance in the championship.
“It is amazing to reach the semis because I had no idea how far I was going to get at the start of the week,” he said. “The goal was just to try to get into the match play and see what happened from there.”
That feat was accomplished with considerable aplomb when he put together rounds of 70 and 69 at Murcar and Portlethen to finish tied 15th, five shots behind medallist, Ben Murray. He was then to rattle off victories against Graham Innes, Stephen Roger, Murray and Lewis Irvine before coming up just short against Carrick.
It was an exceptional accomplishment for one so young but he will not have much time to celebrate because on Wednesday both he and his brother Gregor will be part of the combined Scottish boys’ and girls’ team competing against England, Ireland and Wales in the Junior Home Internationals at Woodhall Spa.
It is unlikely he will be fazed by the prospect of playing against juniors up to four years older than him. Not after his exploits in Aberdeen where he seemed to take everything in his stride.
“It’s going to be great,” Graham confirmed. “I’ve got so much confidence from what I’ve done this week. I just hope I can keep it going.”