England’s George Young shot four-under 67 today to take the halfway lead in the McGregor Trophy at Burnham & Berrow, Somerset.
Young, (pictured) from West Malling in Kent, is six-under after two rounds of the English U16 boys’ open championship and a shot ahead of Estonia’s Joonas Turba.
Young’s move into the lead marked an impressive day for England, with home players packing the top of the leaderboard and a successful defence of the Nations Cup team event.
Josh Hill (Jumeirah Estates), George Leigh (Trevose), James Reed (Exeter) and Harry Crockett (Addington Palace) are all under par for the two rounds, while Max Hopkins (Bishops Stortford) is on level par and Charlie Hilton (Ifield), Habebul Islam (Ipswich) and Robin Williams (Peterborough Milton) are all one over.
Young, 16, shot both the low round of the day and his best competition score. He had just one bogey, on the 16th, where he three-putted and otherwise played immaculate golf with excellent ball striking.
“I was a bit nervous coming down the last few holes, but it was good,” he said. “I’m enjoying it, there’s a first time or everything and this is the first time I’ve led a competition like this. Tomorrow should be good.”
Turba maintained his challenge for the title despite an attack of the golfer’s curse – the shanks. The 15-year-old suffered four over the opening holes and admitted: “I felt a little nervous after that.” But he went on to score one-under 70 for the round.
“I got the shots back and when I hit those shanks on the front nine my scrambling was perfect and I saved so many pars. On the back nine I started hitting it close to the pin and made three birdies in a row,” he said.
Dubai-based Josh Hill went round in level par to stay at four-under, remarking: “I’m quite happy with it, I’m still up there.” Highlights of his round included an eagle three on the eight but after a bogey on the ninth he found himself playing steadily for par, while the birdies eluded him.
Cornwall’s George Leigh moved up with his 69, which gives him a halfway total of three-under. Apart from a ‘stupid’ bogey on the seventh he played the course perfectly with three birdies and the rest pars. “I got rid of the nerves yesterday and just went out and played,” he remarked.
The South West is well represented at the top of the leaderboard, with James Reed a shot back on two-under after rounds of 72 68. Reed, 14, recently became the youngest-ever Devon champion and is continuing his good form. “I didn’t play my best yesterday but I recovered today with 68. I putted and scrambled really well, every time I missed a green I got up and down.”
Surrey’s Harry Crockett (Addington Palace) is one-under for 36 holes, opening with his first ever sub-par round of two-under 69. Today he added 72, after playing when the wind was at its toughest on the back nine. “We were playing into the wind and I was scrambling but I got up and down when I needed to.
Crockett, who won the Surrey U14 title last year, is playing in the championship for the first time and is enjoying the experience, especially finding that his approach play and putting has stood him in very good stead.
England successfully defended the Nations Cup, played over the first two rounds of the championship, with the teams taking first and second place. Team A of Conor Gough (Stoke Park), Charlie Hilton (Ifield) and Robin Williams (Peterborough Milton was two-over. Team B of Tom Gregory (Stoke Park), Dominic Clemons (Hanbury Manor) and Ben Pierleoni (Berkhamsted) followed them on four over, one shot ahead of Spain.
After today’s round the field was cut to the leading 40 players and ties. A total of 48 qualified with scores of six over and better for tomorrow’s final 36 holes.
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