England’s Jake Burnage sent a message to the Walker Cup selectors when he won the South of England amateur championship by a stroke at Walton Heath Golf Club, Surrey.
The 22-year-old will now focus on a second successful performance in the English amateur championship at The Berkshire next week.
“My aim is to knock down the door with a sledgehammer this fortnight,” said Burnage, from Saunton, Devon, in reference to possible selection.
Appropriately, his 11-under par score won the Michael Lunt Trophy, which celebrates the Walker Cup stalwart and 2005 captain of Walton Heath.
This is Burnage’s first 72-hole victory and his total of 277 represented fine scoring given the strength of the wind, the severity of the rain squalls and the clawing nature of the purple heather.
In addition, in keeping with the tradition of the championship, the two courses had been stretched to their maximum lengths with tees located further back than even those facing hardened professionals in the annual US Open qualifying event.
Burnage had shared the half-way lead with Jack Yule, 22, (Middleton Hall, Norfolk) who is a fellow member of the England A squad. Paired together and last out for both the third and fourth rounds, they duelled all day while the chasing pack kept their distance.
The drama continued to the final hole where Burnage led by three standing on the last tee. He drove his ball into thick heather on top of a bunker and had to hack back onto the fairway. With Yule holing for a birdie three Burnage needed to two putt from 25ft for victory – but slid his first putt 4ft past, before safely holing out.
“I really went for the par putt because I knew that would reduce my handicap to plus-5,” he said. “The return putt did not bother me at all.”
Burnage adds this success to his win the Hampshire Hog, a share of second place in the Brabazon Trophy and third place in the Lytham Trophy.
Third place at Walton Health with a six under par total of 282 went to 23-year-old Italian Philip Geerts. Former boy international Max Martin (Ladrook Park, Warwickshire) finished fourth, celebrating his 20th birthday last Sunday. “A round at Walton Heath was the best possible present,” he said.
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