Northern Ireland can claim another champion as Ulsterman Alan Dunbar won the British Amateur on Saturday at Royal Troon.
The 23-year-old defeated Austrian teen Matthias Schwab, 1 up, in the 36-hole final to become the third Northern Irishman to win the championship. Garth McGimpsey won the title in 1985, while current European Tour player Michael Hoey won in 2001.
A steady putting stroke allowed Dunbar to overcome other weaknesses in his game.
“My putting was great all week,” Dunbar said, according to the R&A. “I struggled with the long game as the week went on and I had to rely on my putting.”
The match was played in windy and rainy conditions at the home of the 2016 British Open. The lead changed hands five times in the match and was the first final to go all 36 holes since 2002.
Schwab had a 1-up lead after the morning 18, but quickly fell 2 down to Dunbar after the first five holes of the afternoon round. The Austrian regained the lead at the 12th hole and entered the 35th hole of the day with a 1-up lead. Dunbar made pars on both of the final two holes to beat Schwab's pair of bogeys and win the match. Schwab missed a 4-foot par putt on the final hole that would have forced extra holes.
Dunbar hails from Portrush, the same town as Graeme McDowell and site to next week's Irish Open at Royal Portrush, into which Dunbar has accepted an invitation.
Dunbar will also gain entry into next month's British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, the 2013 U.S. Open and likely an invitation to the '13 Masters.