For the second successive year, extra holes were required to decide the Carris Trophy at West Lancashire Golf Club before Ben Amor came up trumps to secure the biggest win of his young career.
The 18 year old from Marlborough had finished tied on 286, two under par, with Italy’s Renato Paratore and Jamie Li from Bath. Paratore was eliminated with a bogey five after an errant drive at the par four tenth, which left a head-to-head battle between the two West Country boys.
At the short 17th, the second playoff hole, Li missed the green with his tee shot and took three more to get down for bogey while a solid par was enough to see Amor home. “I’m in shock but this win means a lot,” said Amor (image © Leaderboard Photography).
“Words can’t describe it but it is special. It was nice to win it at 17 because it would have been a little difficult going down the 18th again. “Jamie is a fine player and hit some quality shots but I suppose everything clicked for me at the right time.”
Amor began the day tied with Paratore and fellow Italian Lorenzo Scalise but after an eagle at the second and a birdie at the fifth he had opened a three-shot advantage. He turned in 34 and was still in charge.
But he faltered on the homeward stretch with three bogeys in the last seven holes and while Paratore wasn’t setting the course on fire, the gap closed and the Italian drew level with a birdie-two at 17.
They were tied with one to play but neither could land the knockout blow although both had birdie chances on the final green before signing for 73s and finding that Li had set the target with a fine 70 to set up the three-way tie.
After sealing his win, Amor paid tribute to Andy McGeorge, who posted 78 before rushing to Amor’s side to take on caddying duties. “On the 17th in the playoff I wanted to hit a seven iron but Andy convinced me it was an eight,” added Amor. “It worked perfectly and I can’t thank him enough.
“I suppose I had to win this championship twice. I knew I had a good lead but a few nerves got to me on the back nine. I putted off the green at 16 but Andy calmed me down and at 18 I raced my putt past and had to hole a tricky one back for my par.
“But having worked so hard on my game and the backing I have received from my parents, it’s nice to see I’m getting some rewards.”
Billy Spooner from Lincolnshire and Staffordshire’s Robert Burlison carded closing 69s to finish fifth and sixth respectively, while Li had the consolation of collecting the Hazards Salver for the lowest aggregate from this event and the McEvoy Trophy.
Harrison Woan from Northamptonshire (right, image © Leaderboard Photography) experienced the highs and lows of the game during his round of 76. He holed-in-one with a six-iron at the 159-yard third hole to complete the fifth ‘ace’ of his golfing life and he’s only just turned 18.
“I hit my tee shot to the left side of the green and the ball rolled round into the hole,” he said. “It was my fifth hole-in-one and four have been in competitions. I’ve had two at my home club of Overstone Park and two more at Northants County, so this is the first one outside my home county.”
With eight pars to go with the eagle, Woan reached the turn in 34 but ran into trouble at the tenth when he lost his ball with his approach shot. He dropped another but fired that into scrub behind the green, took three more to escape and eventually signed for a nine.