Italy’s Stefano Mazzoli has earned a place in next year’s British Open at Royal Troon after winning the European Amateur Championship. Mazzoli posted a 19-under 269 at the Legend Course at Penati Golf Resort in Slovakia.
Gary Hurley probably picked up a nice little consolation prize for finishing second.
The Irishman has surely booked his place on the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team, which will face the United States at Royal Lytham on Sept. 12-13. Hurley was already a part of the GB&I practice squad from which most of the team will be selected.
A closing 4-under 68 allowed Mazzoli to deny Hurley a title that looked like his after a third-round 65 gave the Irishman the 54-hole lead. Hurley could only muster a closing 72 to finish at 18 under, one shot behind the Italian.
Gavin Moynihan staked his claim for a return to the GB&I side by finishing third. The former Alabama player finished two shots off the pace at 17 under.
Mazzoli is the second Italian winner since the championship began in 1986, and the first since Massimo Scarpa in 1992.
Mazzoli wouldn’t have been top of the list of possible winners before the tournament began. He arrived in Slovakia 259th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, 232 places beneath Hurley. He was the world’s fifth best Italian amateur, but is sure to improve on that status when the rankings are updated next week.
Illinois senior Thomas Detry was bidding become the second Belgian winner after Didier De Voogt in 1997. Detry began the final round in third place, two shots behind Hurley. However, he closed with a 1-over 73 to finish at 15 under and in a tie for sixth with five players, including Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult.