Ferguson shows poise to stay in contention at ‘brutal’ Royal Melbourne

5th Jan 2017

Teenager Ben Ferguson withstood Royal Melbourne’s famed “brutal” conditions to be well-placed at the halfway mark of the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship.

Ferguson carded a 69 on Thursday to move to two-under for the tournament and six shots adrift of leader James Grierson from New South Wales.

“I’m happy to be sitting inside the top-10 at the moment, even though I still have a bit of work to do to catch the leaders,” Ferguson told GolfWA.

“I wouldn’t say I’m hitting it the absolute best, but I’ve been making some putts. Normally it’s the other way around.

“I’m happy with that because it’s really brutal at the moment. The greens are ridiculously quick.”

Ferguson felt the full force of Royal Melbourne yesterday, when he dropped shots on four successive holes – including a double bogey at the par-four ninth – before bouncing back impressively to launch himself into contention for one of Australian amateur golf’s most prestigious events.

The 18-year-old began his recovery mission with an eagle at the 12th yesterday before carding five birdies on Thursday to move up the leaderboard.

One of the strokes he picked up came at the seventh as he negotiated the same four holes where he endured his bad run 24 hours earlier without damage.

“I was happy to go through there without a bruise today,” said Ferguson, who is one of just nine players in red figures.

“I had a bit of a hiccup yesterday, a little bit of a meltdown, but I was pleased with the way I recovered.

“You can’t afford to be stressing too much around Royal Melbourne because it’s a course that can eat you alive.

“Like I say I’m pretty happy where I am at the moment. I have ground to make up, but it’s a course that when you are leading you know you have to work hard to stay away from everyone else.”

Ferguson will play his third round alongside good mates Shae Wools-Cobb and Blake Windred – who are both a shot behind – and believes that could be to his advantage.

“It should be good and hopefully we can all bounce off each other,” he said.

“We’ll talk and it will be pretty calm between shots, but once you step up to the ball then that all changes.

“We’re out to beat each other after all.”

Ferguson’s solid start is a reward for his preparation – the teenager afforded himself only Christmas Day off from practice in the lead-up – as he got ready for a hectic start to the new year.

He will return home to Perth after this week’s event before flying back to Melbourne for the Australian Amateur, which begins on January 17, and then the Avondale Cup in Sydney before the end of the month.

“It’s a busy start to the year, but it’s good to be back playing tournament golf,” he said.