England’s Alfie Plant beat an international field by seven shots to win the Lytham Trophy – and score a much awaited victory.
His triumph at Royal Lytham and St Annes comes after a string of second and third places last season and he said: “It’s nice to finally get over the line.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet but it’s a very big win, round a great golf course. I’m over the moon, really excited,” added Plant, from Sundridge Park in Kent.
He was four over par after rounds of 67 73 74 70 – on an Open Championship course with a par of 70 and a standard scratch score of 76 – and he was the first Englishman to win in five years.
More English players were close behind with Bradley Moore (Kedleston Park) among the three runners-up on 11-over; while James Walker (The Oaks), Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park) and Gian Marco Petrozzi (Trentham) were also in the top ten.
Plant, 23, has had his eye on this championship ever since he used to play in the simultaneous junior event at nearby Fairhaven Golf Club. “I used to go and watch the guys hitting on the range and there was a real aura about it. I remember saying to my dad ‘I wish I could play and win that one day.’”
He has been playing in the Lytham Trophy now for four years and on his debut he was in the second last group on the final day, eventually finishing tied 13th. “I’ve bagged some experience which gave me an advantage and I felt I could post a good score.”
Plant, an England international, led the championship after his first round 67, shared the lead with Moore and Walker after the second round and was two behind Moore going into the last round. His goal was level par over the final round and he achieved it, while keeping a careful eye on the opposition via the on-course scoreboard.
His strength throughout the tournament was his iron play. “My game plan was to take as many bunkers as possible out of play and give myself opportunities. With my iron play being really good I was able to get it close a few times and keep the bogeys off the card.”
Plant toured South Africa with England Golf earlier this season and has also been on squad training at England Golf’s winter training base at the Quinta do Lago resort in Portugal. “It’s been of massive importance,” said Plant. “It’s a head start on the rest of the field.”
Click here for full scores from the Lytham Trophy