Golf: Dundas earns priceless win with new dash: Tim Glover reports on the iron will that drove a teenager to success in the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie

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The Independent Online
Stephen Dundas, the amateur champion at the age of 18, will turn professional one day but he is in no great hurry. Dundas, who beat Bradley Dredge, of Bryn Meadows, 7 and 6 in the 36-hole final on Saturday, returns to college in Texas tomorrow to register for a second term but will be back in Britain in time for the home internationals next week.

Dundas, who plays at Haggs Castle in Glasgow, became the first Scotsman to win the Amateur Championship since Reid Jack disposed of an American army sargeant 35 years ago. He was also the first Scot to appear in a final since Colin Montgomerie in 1984. Montgomerie was beaten by Jose- Maria Olazabal and both have gone on to win more than pounds 1m on the European Tour.

Dundas, whose father had to retire from employment because of illness, has been an apprentice footballer with Celtic Boys' Club - 'a midfield playmaker' - and a part-time apprentice pipe-fitter. If and when the cheques start to roll in they will be welcome. No money for his week's work at Carnoustie, where he came through eight and a bit rounds in weather that went from savage to glorious, but a handsome silver trophy and a gold key. The latter gets him into the Masters at Augusta in April and the next two Open Championships, prizes that a professional could not put a price on.

Dundas, who watched the Open at Muirfield in 1980 when he was five, looks like an academic. On the course he wears glasses which are removed when the day's work is done. He is 6ft 3in and wears size 12 shoes and he uses his physique to good effect on the long game. Apart from being a semi-finalist in the Scottish Amateur last month, his only notable achievement was winning the West of Scotland Boys' Match Play three years ago.

What has transformed him into the amateur champion? 'Every tournament I played in there were some holes I'd be frightened of. If there was danger on the left I'd play safe. I didn't have the confidence in my own ability. To win the Amateur I knew I couldn't hold back. I decided there would be no fear. I picked a spot and just hit it.' He was aided and abetted by his caddie, Les McLaughlin, a member at Cowglen in Glasgow and Dundas's foursomes partner. McLaughlin had a question for Michael Bonallack, secretary of the Royal and Ancient: 'Can anybody caddie in the Masters?' The answer is yes.

Dredge, who was almost flawless in the semi-finals, lost his form when it mattered. He plays for Wales in the home internationals and is hoping for a re- match with Dundas. 'I couldn't believe it,' he said. 'Everything had been going so well and all of a sudden I didn't know where the ball was going. That result hurt.'

Aside from Dundas, the other star of the week was somewhat older. Carnoustie looked magnificent. Why, you may wonder, has the R & A banished her from its harem of chosen ones for the Open Championship? Once she was courted regularly, staging the Open on five occasions from 1931 to 1975. Since Tom Watson won there 17 years ago, Carnoustie has disappeared from the Open rota. The principal reason is lack of a grand hotel to house the players near the course. Most of the major hotel groups have looked at it and decided that it is economically unviable. A number of clubs use the course but only one clubhouse is actually on it. It is situated by the first tee, commanding views of the course and the coast. Unfortunately, the building itself looks like a large public convenience. Outside and inside it has to be one of ugliest and dingiest buildings on a golf course in Britain. The fact that it is attached to Carnoustie makes the whole thing incomprehensible. Carnoustie, the town (population about 14,000), does not have a lot going for it. What it does have is one of the world's great links.

AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP (Carnoustie) Final: S Dundas (Haggs Castle) bt B Dredge (Bryn Meadows) 7 and 6.

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