Ben produces his best to lead McGregor Trophy

Yorkshire boys’ champion Ben Schmidt pulled out his best ever competitive round to take the halfway lead in the McGregor Trophy at Kedleston Park, Derbyshire.

He shot five-under 67 – the joint low score of the day – to get to six-under after 36 holes of the English U16 boys’ open championship.

The 15-year-old from Rotherham (pictured) remarked afterwards: “It’s the best score I’ve ever shot in competition and a big achievement for myself.”

The omens were good from the start. His drive on the par five 1st found trouble and he had to chip out – but got up and down for birdie from 165 yards.

“I thought that’s not a bad start,” he said. “Then I followed up with another birdie on the next hole where I holed from about 15ft. That’s what got it going.”

Schmidt had played well yesterday and it gave him confidence for today’s round – and he was rewarded when his putts dropped.

He’s one shot ahead of first round leader Oscar Bartram (Notts) who added two-under 70 to his opening 69.

A further shot back is George Leigh (Trevose), who shared the low score of the day with his 67. He is tied in third place with Reuben Bather of Wales who was three under today.

Leigh’s score took him to four-under for the championship and was particularly memorable for the nine birdies it included. “I birdied half the holes, it’s the most birdies I’ve ever had in a round,” said the 16-year old.

He set up his score with dazzling iron play, leaving himself with makeable putts which he duly converted. For example, he had a run of four consecutive birdies from the 14th where he holed out from 1ft, 4ft, 2in and 8ft.

“I gave myself a lot of opportunities,” said Leigh, who is getting back into competitive golf after concentrating on his exams. “I haven’t played much for the last four months but I’ve practised quite a lot recently.”

After today’s round the field was cut to the leading 40 players and ties who return for the final 36 holes tomorrow. A total of 44 players with scores of five-over and better qualified.


Image copyright Leaderboard Photography