Todd Clements played brilliant – and brave – golf to win the English Amateur Championship at The Berkshire, beating Jack Gaunt 2/1 in the 36-hole final.
It’s his first win and he said: “What a way to start! It just proves to me that I can really compete at this level. Two years ago I was just someone who turned up to enjoy a tournament, now I feel I can turn up and try to win.”
The 20-year-old from Braintree, Essex, was thoroughly tested before he got his hands on the trophy and he had to produce remarkable golf to seal his win on The Berkshire’s spectacular Red course, with its carpets of heather and towering pines.
“There were a lot of highs and lows,” said Clements – and he meant it. This morning he dominated play over the second nine and came into lunch with a four hole lead.
This afternoon he was quickly five up and appeared to be cruising to victory, but Gaunt, from Drayton Park, Staffordshire, had other ideas.
In the space of just six holes he had pulled the match back to all square, with a par on the 22nd, three consecutive birdies from the 23rd and another birdie on the 27th.
It was a stunning display as he played an eight-iron to within a foot on one hole and then rammed home a series of putts.
Clements, from Braintree in Essex confessed: “For those holes I was thinking I mustn’t embarrass myself!” But instead of wilting he produced his own amazing comeback.
It started on the 28th, a challenging par three, where he fired a brave shot straight at the pin. He was rewarded with a winning birdie and returned to one up.
He kept his lead on the 30th with a fighting par after he found a fairway bunker, played through the green, chipped back and holed the four-footer to match Gaunt.
Then the dramatics began. On the long 31st he chipped in for eagle three to go two up. On the 32nd he holed a 30ft birdie putt to go three up. On the 33rd, with Gaunt already conceded a birdie four, he holed another 30-footer for his own birdie and a crucial half. “It’s all a bit of a blur,” said Clements.
He lost the 34th where he missed the green while Gaunt putted superbly from the back of the green to set up his par three. Then, with Gaunt bunkered in two on the long 35th, a solid par was enough for the title. “It’s unbelievable,” said Clements.
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