English U18 Championship: Weaver seals comeback win with dramatic finish

Tyler Weaver birdied the final two holes on a dramatic day at the English Under 18 Championship to clinch a fantastic victory that even came as a surprise to him.

The England boys’ squad player thought his hopes of a triumph at Woodhall Spa, the home of England Golf, had gone when he bogeyed the 16th hole and slipped two shots behind leader Sam Easterbrook from Olton and level with Harry Malin from Bognor Regis.

Weaver, though, conjured up two fantastic closing birdies while Easterbrook bogeyed the final two holes and let the golfer from Bury St Edmunds sneak up on the rails

That was perhaps appropriate for the Suffolk golfer as the son of former classic-winning, flat-racing jockey Jason Weaver.

Dad Jason and mum Fiona were on hand to witness their son’s heroics down the stretch and there was plenty at which to marvel.

The birdie at 17 was unlikely after a pulled tee shot found the thick rough, but the recovery defied belief and the putt dropped from 12 feet.

At 18, an up and down from the left of the green was terrific under pressure – especially as the arithmetic had become complicated by that point.

With Alexander Maxwell and Zach Little in the clubhouse at level par and Weaver concentrating on his own game without trying to work out what others were doing, he holed the five-foot birdie putt without knowing its full significance.

Weaver finished the championship as the only player under par thanks to rounds of 70, 69, 76, 71 for a tally of -2.

Final leaderboard

After being presented with the trophy, Weaver admitted: “I’m absolutely buzzing, I can’t explain how I feel. I’m just super happy.

“Because the leaderboard isn’t live, I thought Harry was beating me by one and I needed to hole my putt for a play off!

“I got that completely wrong!

“I can’t describe the feeling to win – it feels great all the hard work is paying off and all the money my parents spend taking me around the country…it makes me happy.

“My dad came down for the last day so I was happy to do it in front of both of them.”

And on his miracle birdie on 17 which kickstarted his revival, he added: “From the heather it’s a bit of guesswork, but I just committed to the shot and it ended up going where I wanted.

“I hit the putt firmly as I hadn’t holed much and  I really wanted to take it down the last.”

Weaver had started the final day of the 72-hole stroke play event  two shots behind Easterbrook knowing he had 36 holes to make his move.

But a third round 76 (+4) in the morning left him five behind Easterbrook with 18 holes to play.

Weaver’s round was stuttering on the front nine with a couple of putts horseshoeing the hole and leaving him frustrated and Easterbrook maintaining his advantage.

Then came a big moment when Weaver holed a bunker shot from 30 yards on the ninth hole to claim an unlikely eagle and go into the back nine four adrift of his England boys’ squad team-mate.

“That was definitely a big turning point and I used that momentum to keep me going,” added Weaver.

“That was a really good bunker shot to be fair and I was happy it went in.”

As well as winning the silver salver, Weaver will also receive an invitation to play in a Challenge Tour event courtesy of tournament backers Modest Golf.

The leading girl in the mixed event – Sophia Fullbrook from The Melbourne – will also earn an invite to a future LET event. Fullbrook (pictured above alongside Weaver) finished eighth on her own with a 72-hole aggregate of +4.

 

Photography: Leaderboard