Wilson takes long route to the Masters
Monday 07 June 2004
Next April Stuart Wilson, who won the British Amateur Championship here on Saturday, will be able to match his brother Ewen in attending the Masters.
Ewen made it to Augusta by getting a golf scholarship to an American university; one of the perks was being allowed to do a bit of marshalling. Stuart got there after a long week of golf in which he survived the 36-hole strokeplay qualifying, won five 18-hole matches and then the 36-hole final on Saturday 4 and 3 against England's Lee Corfield on the Old Course. He will not just attend the Masters, but will be in search of a green jacket.
Wilson and Corfield were looking for dinner jackets on Saturday evening, for one of the Royal and Ancient's 250th anniversary dinners. Corfield planned to enjoy the hospitality after missing out on the trip to the Open at Royal Troon next month as well as the Masters.
"My brother has already been to the Masters so it will be great to go to Augusta," said Wilson, the first Scot in 68 years to win the Amateur at the "Home of Golf". "I may even let Ewen caddie for me." His first televisual memory of the tournament is, inevitably, Sandy Lyle winning in 1988 after his magnificent fairway bunker shot on the last hole.
The fine touch Wilson showed on his long putts - many of which involved multiple changes in elevation - and his chipping around the greens will be required at Augusta. The 26-year-old, who works in a golf shop in Monifieth, will certainly not turn professional prior to the Masters, and may never do so.
With the explosion in the golf industry, career amateurs, once thought to be extinct, could make a comeback. Nigel Edwards works for the Welsh Golf Union and Gary Wolstenholme is the manager of a golf club. Both, along with Wilson, featured in the memorable Walker Cup victory at Ganton last September.
Like Wolstenholme, Wilson is not the longest off the tee but he is a hard opponent to wear down. Corfield, a member of the English élite squad, had by his own admission a shocking putting day in the final.
"I couldn't find the lines of the putts," he said. "But it was a great week. I experienced the highs and lows but it was great fun." Unless he is picked for the Eisenhower Trophy team at the end of the year, the 21-year-old from Somerset will try his luck at the European Tour School in the autumn.
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