Denmark’s Rasmus Hojgaard put on a command performance today to win the McGregor Trophy by six shots, finishing on seven-under par at Royal Ashdown Forest in Sussex.
The 15-year-old signed off with a birdie on the 72nd hole, having shot two-under 70 and 67 in the final two rounds, speeding away from his rivals in the English U16 boys’ open stroke play championship.
He also won the Jean Case Memorial Salver for the best gross score by an U15 player, finishing nine shots ahead of second placed Dylan de Prosperis of Italy.
Hojgaard adds this win to his Danish amateur title which he won two weeks ago and to the bronze medal won last week when Denmark’s boys finished third in their European team championship.
“It has been an incredible three weeks,” said Hojgaard, who ranks his McGregor triumph as the greatest of his successes because of its international status.
The runner-up on one-under par was Michael Gilbert of Chelmsford in Essex, who recently won the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. “It’s a real confidence boost for next week,” he said as he looked forward to the U18 Carris Trophy.
Third place was shared by de Prosperis, who made a big move with 68 in the third round, and by England’s Harry Goddard (Hanbury Manor), who was the halfway leader.
Fourteen-year-old Dominic Clemons (Gog Magog) scored 68 in the last round and finished on three-over, sharing fifth place with Yorkshire’s Charlie Daughtrey (Rotherham).
Hojgaard started today on level par, three shots behind Goddard and one ahead of Daughtrey, but after round three he held a one-shot lead. In the afternoon he played superb golf with just one small flaw when he three-putted the 15th for his only bogey of the afternoon.
For the rest he fired at the pins and grabbed his birdie chances. On the outward half he claimed three in a row from the fourth, moving to five-under for the championship and distancing himself from his rivals. Three more birdies came on the back nine, including two in the last three holes, which satisfied Hojgaard after his struggles there in the first two rounds. He is pictured, left, celebrating his 18th hole birdie.
If he found an awkward situation he made the solution look easy, for example on the seventh when he had to play from the rough with the ball lying well below his feet. The ball sailed out and on to the green en route to another par.
He was grouped with Goddard and Daughtrey who played with great determination as they chased him. All three produced some great golf, with plenty of birdies – and an eagle from Goddard on the eighth.
But Daughtrey came to grief on the short 14th where his tee shot found a nasty lie in the heathery humps and hillocks just off the green. Similarly, the 16th cost Goddard dearly after his drive went in the heather.
Meanwhile, Gilbert climbed the leaderboard with a pair of 70s today, despite the toll taken by the difficult 17th which cost him three shot in total. “I hate that hole!” he laughed. Otherwise, he managed six birdies and an eagle during the course of the two rounds.
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