England’s Conor Gough bounced back from a disappointing first round to be runner-up in the Italian U16 boys’ open championship at Biella Golf Club.
The 13-year-old birdied the 72nd hole to complete the championship in one-under par, two shots behind the winner, Tim Mayer of Germany – despite opening with four-over 77.
“I played really well, apart from the first round which was a bit shaky,” said Gough, the English U14 boys’ champion from Stoke Park (image © Leaderboard Photography).
“I just didn’t putt well, nothing would go in. But over the next three rounds the putts started dropping.”
He was under par in each of those rounds, scoring 71 72 71. “After the start of the tournament I thought I’d be happy to make the cut, but when I shot two-under in the second round I thought I was in with a chance of winning.”
He gradually worked his way up from 47th place to be sixth after three rounds and still five shots back – but undeterred by the gap. “I was going for it, I knew if I had a good score I could win it – and I came close,” said Gough, who holed from 8ft on the last to get under par overall.
“It was a nice course but tough, it was quite long and tree-lined so you couldn’t hit too many drivers, but I was hitting it good with my three wood.”
Gough, an England U16 international and a member of an England Golf training squad, is enjoying a spectacular season. He won the English U14 open championship for the Reid Trophy by five shots last month, having previously won the U15 Douglas Johns Trophy and successfully defended the Berks, Bucks & Oxon (BB&O) U14 boys’ county championship, which he has now held for three years in a row, first claiming it at the age of 11.
He also set a course record of nine-under 62 at his club, Stoke Park – previously held by his brother, England boy international John Gough – and he has cut his handicap from three to plus-two.
“I’ve had a really good year,” said Gough, whose target was to get to scratch. Now, with his season almost over he says: “It’s head down and practice for next year.”
Lincolnshire’s Hugo Kedzlie (Spalding) finished sixth in the Italian championship, also overcoming a slow first round of 78. He moved up the leaderboard with scores of 70 72 76. Yorkshire’s Barclay Brown (Hallamshire) was 17th and James Cooper (Cumberwell Park) 20th. Kedzlie, Brown and Cooper represented England in the team event and came fourth.
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