Callum Shinkwin is the 2013 English champion. He secured the title in the rain at Frilford Heath when he wrapped up a 4 and 3 victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick in the 36 hole final.
Perhaps Fitzpatrick was the fans’ favourite but Shinkwin (image © Leaderboard Photography) played the better golf on the day and deserved his success, not least as this is Walker Cup year. He is also believed to be the first Hertfordshire golfer to win this prestigious title since Nick Faldo in 1975.
“This win means a lot because it means my name is there alongside some famous ones,” said Shinkwin. “I played so well this morning with 68 which was bogey free and Matt wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I was disappointed last year to not qualify while I lost in the semi-finals two years ago. So this makes up for that.
“Despite being 3-up at lunch, I couldn’t afford to relax because I knew Matt would come out hard in the afternoon. I played at Walton Heath recently and the course didn’t really suit me.
“But here, after we had the rain, the greens were more receptive which meant I could fire into them and I holed putts when I needed to. I knew once I got through the first round of qualifying, when I had three shanks in a 71 I’d be O.K. but match play is anyone’s game.”
Fitzpatrick had stormed his way into the final with some large wins but he took his defeat on the chin. “Worse things happens,” he said. “I didn’t play as well today as in previous rounds and I didn’t putt as well. But the putter was cold.
“The defeat is hard to take but I’ve had a fantastic week. I didn’t get any momentum going today. If I could have done it might have been different. But I’m not taking anything away from Callum. He played better today.”
Shinkwin laid the foundation for his victory in the morning when he went round in 68, four under par, and was 3-up at lunch. That put the Hertfordshire man in control of his own destiny and left Fitzpatrick with a hill to climb and needing a few birdies, which proved elusive.
Many would have liked to have seen Fitzpatrick complete the double having become British Boys champion 12 months ago and to add the title to the silver medal he won as leading amateur at the Muirfield Open. But if that was to happen he needed a fast start in the afternoon but it didn’t happen.
In fact, the situation got worse for the Sheffield youngster when Shinkwin birdied the 20th hole then took the next with a par after Fitzpatrick drove into trees and put his second through the green. It was then that the first of two heavy showers began to fall.
Fortunately for him, Fitzpatrick was conceded the short 22nd when Shinkwin miscued his chip after missing the green. No holes were won or lost before the turn which Shinkwin reached in level par to Fitzpatrick’s one over.
Shinkwin went 5-up for the second time at the 28th when Fitzpatrick again tangled with the trees on the left, but he won the next when Shinkwin missed the green right at the 182-yard hole and failed to get up-and-down.
But the end was in sight. On the 30th, Shinkwin could have gone further in front but his birdie putt lipped out, while both had chances at the next. As the rain returned for the second time on the 32nd, Fitzpatrick missed a chance to take the contest further but his putt stayed above ground and Shinkwin secured the half he needed for the title.
The English Men’s Amateur Championship is supported by abacus.