Wiltshire’s Ben Amor swept round the Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa in seven-under par over 36 holes to become the English men’s county champion of champions.
He adds his name to a trophy which has previously been won by Lee Westwood and Nick Faldo and said: “To win means a lot.”
The 21-year-old dropped only one shot all day – on the short fifth in his morning round – and he finished three clear of Kent’s Dan Brown. Yorkshire’s Ben Hutchinson also beat par, scoring two-under to take third place.
“It’s nice for the hard work to pay off,” said Amor (Marlborough). “This has been a bit of a tough year and I’ve under-achieved on my expectations. But I’ve put in the hard work and you reap the rewards eventually, today was my day, I guess.”
For much of the day Amor and Brown were locked in a neck-and-neck battle. They both went round in four-under 69 this morning; Brown got ahead over the early holes this afternoon but Amor caught him with an eagle three on the sixth. Amor moved ahead on the ninth; Brown caught him on the 11th.
But the crunch came down the closing holes. Amor relentlessly parred every one, demonstrating a sure touch with his short game whenever he looked like faltering, but Brown (Chart Hills) had three bogeys in the last six.
“I knew I had to post a number this afternoon and I couldn’t believe how close Dan was to me. When I made eagle I thought I would pull clear, but next time I looked at the leaderboard he was right next to me.
“I like head-to-head stuff,” said Amor, who overcame any nerves by sticking to his routines. “I’ve been working hard on them and that was possibly the biggest thing. When I was really under pressure and need to hit a shot my routine stayed constant and sound.”
Amor has been an England squad player and is a past winner of the English U18 boys’ Carris Trophy – and his next target is European Tour qualifying. “This is a big boost, playing well on a really good golf course where you have to drive it well.”
For Dan Brown there were mixed emotions after a few loose drives cost him over the closing holes. “I was a bit disappointed towards the end, but pleased with the shape of my game,” he said. “I played well this morning to get to four-under and I got to three-under through four this afternoon. But perhaps a little bit of mental fatigue set in later on, it was nothing drastic but I found a few fairway traps.”
This was one of four champion of champions’ tournaments played over the weekend, also involving men, women, girls and senior men.
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Caption: Ben Amor, 2016 English men’s county champion of champions (image © Leaderboard Photography).