How Gregory learnt to thrive in heat of battle

Scott Gregory was given a rapturous reception when he arrived back at Corhampton with the British Amateur trophy on Monday.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:45 pm
Past and present Corhampton captains with Scott Gregory and the British Amateur trophy. Picture: Andrew Griffin

The members, sheltering in the clubhouse from the heavy rain, greeted his homecoming as the first-ever Hampshire-born player to win amateur golf’s blue riband event.

Gregory revealed the full extent of the motivation for his rise to the pinnacle of the amateur game – going one better than Lee-on-the-Solent’s Sam Hutsby, who lost in the 2009 final at Formby to Matteo Manassero.

He beat Scottish Amateur champion Robert MacIntyre 2&1 at Royal Porthcawl on Saturday.

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And he highlighted a recent defeat in the Spanish Amateur as a turning point on his road to glory.

‘Losing to Romain (Langasque) in the Spanish changed me as a golfer,’ said Gregory.

‘It made me more determined than ever to find a way to win the biggest events I play in.

‘He showed me exactly how to turn it on in a matchplay final – no matter how great the expectation or pressure you are under, or what is at stake.

‘Romain was relentless in applying the pressure so I could never settle.

‘He played with the attitude that “if I play my best golf, there is no way this guy is going to beat me”.

‘He taught me I had to learn how to do that so when it was my turn again, I was able to do to my opponent what he had done to me in Seville.

‘And that is what I managed to do.

‘I’ve spent the last couple of months working even harder with my coach, Simon Andrews, so I’m totally comfortable with my swing at all times.

‘And no matter what the length or type of hole I am playing and regardless of the state of the match, I have got a stock shot and repeatable swing that will not let me down.

‘I have also worked on being totally comfortable over the ball and seeing the shot I want to play before I hit it, with my sports psychologist.

‘In the past, I think I have been a little too negative – if my opponent made a mistake or was in a bit of trouble off the tee, I would either change my strategy and take less club, or play for position, rather than be aggressive and continue to attack.

‘The very best players find a way to recover – say by making five on a par five which puts more pressure on your birdie putt.

‘So instead of winning the hole, you get a half and don’t pick up any momentum.

‘That’s what Romain did to me, so I knew I had to find a way to do that.’

And no doubt, that solution was arrived at in South Wales.

Gregory added: ‘During the week, I found the par five 12th at Royal Porthcawl perfect for my eye and approach.

‘A lot of guys could not find the fairway, while I was able to get away a good drive.

‘But even when they were in trouble, I still pulled out the three-wood and fired at the green.

‘That way they knew if I was on the green, I was likely to two-putt for birdie, so they had to take on the riskier second shot because laying up meant they were likely to lose the hole going into a key part of the back nine.

‘And that often resulted in more mistakes to give me the hole.’