English Men’s Amateur – Day One: Forster to the fore

Charlie Forster teed it up at Worksop for the first time and later walked off the course with the day one lead in the stroke play qualifying at English Men’s Amateur Championship.

The North Hants golfer chose to pace out a few holes on Sunday night rather than dig out his clubs and the tactic paid rich dividends.

Seven birdies and just two dropped shots in a round of 67 gave Forster a closing tally of five-under par – one clear of four other players.

Sam Easterbrook (main image) from Olton and Freddie Parlby from Hallowes also enjoyed a good day at Worksop (playing to a par of 72) with rounds of four-under par.

Over at Lindrick, Stoke Park’s Taylor Paul and Morgan Blythe from Hexham were also able to match the four-under tally on a course that operates with a par of 71.

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Tomorrow, the players will reverse courses before the field is pared down to the top 64 for the match play stages to be held exclusively at Lindrick.

Forster was satisfied with his score after adopting a cautious approach to what may turn out to be a long and testing week.

“Before the round I said to myself – hit greens and don’t have any destructive shots and make bad mistakes,” confirmed Forster.

“I did that and holed a few nice putts which is a bit different. I stuck to the game plan and thankfully it paid off.

“I walked the course on Sunday but it was late in the evening as we didn’t arrive until late.

“I made a few notes – I prefer to do that as you don’t find out where the trouble is and off every tee it’s fresh. That way you don’t have any bad history.

“You had to keep it in play – I only hit one wood and kept it in play and if the putts drop they drop.

“You don’t have to shoot the lights out – the main goal is to get through and that’s what I tried to do.”

Over at Lindrick, Blythe was one of the early starters and had a good score in the bag by mid-morning.

His round came as a pleasant surprise given how he performed in missing the cut last week at the Carris Trophy.

It was a case of low expectations helping to deliver a good result.

Blythe said: “I played pretty good and was happy with how I planned to play the course.

“I was safe but aggressive off the tee – hit as much club as possible but aim for the wide parts and avoid bunkers and long grass.

“I felt like I hit rock bottom at Silloth. I only found out I was playing a couple of days ago, I didn’t have much time to think about it or get wound up.

“I came and played free and calm and it was good.

“I was happy with my tactics today so hopefully that’ll mean I get it right over at Worksop tomorrow.”

Easterbrook’s charge to the top end of the leaderboard follows on from good scores at the Carris which left him safely inside the top ten.

Last year the England boys’ squad player enjoyed a good run at this event and hopes to go further this time around.

He added: “I’m coming off a few good results, looking forward to the week and trying to make a charge towards the weekend.

“A year ago I lost in the last 16. I qualified 64th and beat the top seed. Good memories. This time I’ll try and go a bit further, make the match play and see how it goes.”

Scoring on day one was excellent given the hard and fast-running courses with 36  players under par.

The second and final round of stroke play qualifying will be keenly contested with much of the field still in contention to make the cut and progress to the nitty-gritty of the knockout stages.

 

Photography: Leaderboard