Kelly's the hero after marathon playoff with Keeble
Just a year ago Patrick Kelly suffered the agony of losing the British Boys Championship at an extra hole. In the Kent sunshine he landed a national title when he won the Carris Trophy, supported by Titleist, after a marathon playoff with Bobby Keeble.
The pair has finished tied on 281, seven under par, at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal after Kelly saw a two-shot lead disappear with a 73, while Keeble signed for 71 to set up the nail-biting tussle for the title.
They parred the first, second and 18th holes but when they returned to the first a par was good enough to see Kelly home but that didn’t tell the whole story.
“I can’t believe I’ve won,” said Kelly (image © Tom Ward). “It’s a massive relief to land a national title but I played terrible for the first seven holes. I’d been two under through those holes in the previous rounds but when I hit a six-iron to a foot on the eighth it got me settled.
“I birdied the tenth and knew I was still ahead of Bobby but I bogeyed the 13th and he birdied which meant a two-shot swing. Then when he chipped in for eagle at 16 he was ahead.
“I felt a bit strange when I was leading but after going behind I hit better shots and got back level with an eight-foot birdie at 17.
“The playoff was a marathon but after losing the British I thought this time maybe it was my time to win.”
Keeble, who was near the top of the leaderboard all week, did his reputation no harm at all and we shall hear more of the Essex lad from Abridge in the weeks and years to come.
“The eagle on 16 gave me a boost and I shaved the hole for birdie on 17,” he said. “But I played great all week and I was solid in the playoff until the fourth extra hole. In the end the best man won.”
The pair played like escape artists in the first three extra holes, Keeble twice hitting long putts that shaved the hole while Kelly looked like losing at the third until his 25-foot putt stumbled into the cup.
Then at the fourth extra, Keeble found the rough, left his approach short of the ditch, chipped well short of the flag then putted past for a bogey. That gave Kelly another chance and he took two to seal a par take the title back to Lincolnshire.
On a day that started wet but which slowly turned to sunshine leaving a humid day and ideal conditions for the later players, local hope Max Orrin and Matthew Fitzpatrick shared third place three strokes back, Orrin posting a superb 68.
Toby Tree from Sussex, who was seeking to add the under 18 title to the under 14 and under 16 he won in earlier years, put in a burst at the last, returning 67 for 286 and fifth place.
Orrin had the consolation of winning the Malcolm Reid Salver for the best aggregate over the McEvoy and Carris Trophies while the Hazards Salver for the best score by a player aged under 16 went to Margo Penge from Sussex on 292.
Final scores, news and photos are available on the Championships Section of the England Golf website, www.englandgolf.org.