Charlie Thornton today staged a brilliant comeback to pip John Gough by a shot and claim victory at the 2022 Scottish Men’s Open Amateur Championship.
The Yorkshireman started the final round at Cruden Bay three adrift of favourite Gough who was looking to add another title to the wins he had already achieved at the English Amateur, Spanish Amateur and Lytham Trophy in the past 10 months.
However, Thornton – a former winner of the England Golf Boys’ Order of Merit and a member of England Men’s ‘A’ squad in 2020 and 2021 – posted a flawless final round of 66 featuring four birdies and no dropped shots.
That allowed him to to edge out Gough, who carded a level par final round of 70, and claim the biggest win of his amateur career.
Storming back to win is becoming a habit for Thornton. Last month he fired a final round 65 to win the West of England Stroke Play at Saunton by a shot from another England men’s squad member, Jack Brooks.
Thornton finished the Scottish Men’s Open Championship on two-under par with Gough (pictured below) one shot back. The Englishmen were the only two players in the field of 144 to break par.
The 23-year-old had spent the bulk of the championship lurking with intent in the chasing pack.
After opening with a one-over par round of 71, Thornton was three off the lead held jointly by South Africa’s Casey Jarvis and Scottish duo Ben Murray and Oliver Mukherjee.
At the halfway stage following a second round 69, the Fulford golfer was four shots adrift of solo leader Jarvis.
A third round 72 left Thornton trailing Gough going into the final 18 holes.
However, Thornton made three birdies on the front nine to reduce the deficit to a single shot. Gough had picked up two birdies, but given one back with a bogey at the seventh.
By the 11th hole the duo were level only for Gough to get his nose ahead again with a birdie on the 12th.
The decisive moment in the fight for the title came on the par three, 15th hole.
Thornton made a timely birdie while Gough could only bogey the hole. A two-shot swing put Thornton in the lead for the first time all week and he held his nerve to take top spot.
Thornton had to battle through wind, rain and fiery links conditions on Scotland’s north-east coast to take the biggest win of his career and was fully deserving of the honour.
With today’s win, Thornton becomes the tenth Englishman to take the Scottish Men’s Open crown – and the third in succession after Callan Barrow’s victory last year and Jake Bolton’s triumph in 2019.
The other English winners of an event that dates back to 1967 are Gordon Clark (1973), Gary Wolstenholme (2003), Robert Dinwiddie (2005), Tommy Fleetwood (2009), Andy Sullivan (2011), Garrick Porteous (2013) and Marco Penge (2015).
Other notable names etched on the trophy include Bernard Gallacher, Colin Montgomerie, Philip Walton, Andrew Coltart and Stephen Gallacher, all of whom went on to achieve Ryder Cup honours and multiple successes on the European Tour as professionals.