England international Jake Burnage claimed the biggest win of his career so far with an enthralling one-shot victory in the St Andrews Links Trophy.
He came out on top after a hard-fought final round, coming from three shots back to win the championship on 20-under par.
He pipped long-time leader Matty Lamb by a stroke after powering home, playing the back nine of the Old course at St Andrews in three-under par.
Burnage, from Saunton in Devon, birdied the 10th, eagled the long 14th and parred the rest, as Lamb (Hexham) came home in one-over par.
“This is one of our majors of amateur golf so it’s fantastic,” said the 23-year-old, who has given a huge boost to his hopes of making the GB&I Walker Cup team.
“You can’t take anything for granted, but by winning one of the majors on a links course you would like to think you have given yourself a real chance,” said Burnage.
He came into the event in confident mood, having found form at the Brabazon Trophy at Alwoodley, where he propelled himself from 120th after the first round into a top 20 finish. “That was huge and showed that I can turn it around when I need to,” he said.
At St Andrews, Lamb was making all the running, scoring a bogey free 64 on the Jubilee course in the first round and following up with 63, 69 on the Old to be 20-under par after three rounds.
Burnage, meanwhile, was making his way steadily up the leaderboard, opening with 69, and adding rounds of 64, 66 to be three shots back with 18 holes to play.
The two rivals, who were well apart from the rest of the field, were still separated by three shots after nine holes of the final round. But then Burnage made his move, with the long 14th proving to be the decider.
Burnage holed a 12ft putt for eagle, while Lamb bogeyed the hole for a three shot swing. “Matty played fantastic golf all the way and really didn’t do much wrong this afternoon. But the difference was the three shots on the 14th,” said Burnage.
“I was very nicely in my own zone and concentrating, but it was nice to soak up the atmosphere and to have my parents and girl friend there and a couple of guys from home. It was amazing, absolutely amazing.”
There was also a special satisfaction: “I wanted to prove to myself that I really could do it,” said Burnage.
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