England international Callum Shinkwin overcame all the odds stacked against him to win the South American Amateur Championship.
Shinkwin was hindered by a delayed arrival in Colombia while he also had a five-month layoff and his grandfather recently passed away. But a closing round of 78 saw the Moor Park golfer finish on 293, five-over-par, for a single stroke victory over Erik Myllymaki of Finland at Bogota.
"This win was unexpected," he said. "I never thought that I’d do well this week because I couldn’t get to grips with the course on the first day and only found the pace on the second," added Shinkwin, after he had been delayed in arriving in the country at the beginning of the week.
After an opening 75, which left him three strokes off the pace, Shinkwin produced his best golf over the next 36 holes. A second round two-under-par 70 saw him go two shots clear of the field, which he reproduced in round three to go into the final round with a healthy six-stroke lead.
He was clearly the man to beat but he found the closing day far from easy. His final round 78, his worst of the week, contained only one birdie, five bogeys and a double bogey.
Most of the dropped shots came from the tenth to 13th holes and culminated in a penalty incurred on 13 when he breached the rules of the competition by practising a putt. But a par on the 14th plus the lone birdie on 17 got him back on track and he held on to take the title.
"For me it is a very exciting victory", he said. "I lost my grandfather recently while this is my first tournament of the year after five months without playing.
"Consistency was the key. On the first day I hit 14 fairways and finished three over. I made only six in round two and finished two under. It was a constant struggle but exciting," said Shinkwin, who has his sights set on Walker Cup selection this year.