GARRICK Porteous has captured his first major amateur strokeplay title, putting him on track to make this year’s Walker Cup side on Long Island in New York.
Porteous, who represents Bamburgh Castle and is also a member of the Northumberland club, quickly followed his runner-up spot in the Welsh Open by winning the Carrick Neil Scottish Amateur.
The former KES Morpeth pupil hopes to be among the world’s top 50 amateurs when the latest positions are announced tomorrow, which is the ranking he will need to maintain to earn a place in this year’s US Amateur.
At a blustery Southerness club on the Solway Firth, Porteous signed for 68 69 72 68 to finish one over par and improve his handicap to plus five.
When the result was known an elated Porteous was hugged by his equally delighted father John, and friends of the family Malcolm Anderson and Richard Calvert, who followed his progress round the course.
The 23-year-old England international led after two rounds. At that stage, he was the only player under par and started the final day one shot ahead of the chasing pack. Despite pressure from Ireland’s Richard O’Donovan and Dermot McElroy and England’s Callum Shinkwin, Porteous produced controlled golf in tough conditions to surge clear and beat the field by four shots.
If chosen for the Walker Cup – and should he carry on playing with such consistency there will be uproar in Northumberland if he isn’t – Porteous will follow Graeme Storm, Gary Lockerbie, Chris Paisley and Robert Dinwiddie as North East and Cumbria players who have figured in recent Great Britain & Ireland teams to have competed with America.
In keeping his composure over the closing nine holes, which he played in one under, Porteous illustrated what he would bring to the white-hot battle of this year’s big event, which will be played at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, NY, on September 6-8.
Like European Tour player Paisley, Porteous is a major from the University of Tennessee – Dinwiddie went to Tennessee State – and high-level experience on the US college circuit is a factor when Walker Cup selectors choose a team.
Porteous said: “It’s a big win for me early in the season, so we’ll just wait and see. There are more big events to come, as it’s a hectic time.
“I’ve had a lot of top-five finishes, but this is my first win so it’s special. I put in a lot of hard work with my coaches and my phsyio leading up to the season and I feel that has had a big effect.
“This win was just a grind. The Lytham Trophy was tough last month when I got a top 20, but this was colder and windier. My putting was solid inside six feet, and I had some great up-and-downs.”
This week Porteous returns to Scotland for the St Andrews Links Trophy.