Jenson Forrester is eager to mount a solid defence of the English Under 18 Championship he won in style last year and which fuelled his desire to make a career in the game.
The golfer from Walsall saw off the challenge from home hope Lottie Woad at Farnham Golf Club a year ago to become the inaugural winner of the national event for boy and girl juniors.
As well as the prestige and the silver trophy, Forrester – courtesy of tournament backers Modest Golf! – earned an invite to a future Challenge Tour event.
The prize of a Challenge Tour/LET slot is once again on offer to the leading boy and girl at this week’s 72-hole stroke play event.
Each golfer will play 18 holes on Friday and Saturday with the top 40 and ties playing a further 36 holes on Sunday.
The championship will be covered by England Golf’s social channels and Live Sport Now will broadcast live footage from the event on YouTube.
The 18-year-old has reflected fondly on a victory that gave him the confidence to chase his dream of becoming a professional and also earned him a call-up to the England squad for the 2021 Home Internationals.
This week he will try to defend the title at the world-renowned Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa Golf Club up against 124 of the most talented juniors in the country.
And he’s excited at the challenge that lies ahead on the course that is rated as the TOUGHEST 18 holes in England.
Forrester said: “I’m really looking forward to the week. At a course like Woodhall, the home of England Golf, I’m sure it will be a great event.
“Last year’s win was definitely my first big performance in a top event and that propelled me for the rest of the season.
“I went into school, Thomas Telford in Walsall, the next day after winning. But I didn’t take the trophy as I didn’t want to damage it!”
“The school was really supportive and my story was in the newspaper which pleased my nan!
“It proved to myself that I can perform at that level in the country and the confidence it gave me was ridiculous.”
Forrester finished on a total of -11 in an event shortened to 64 holes because of a weather warning and won by three from Woad with Jack Bigham third and Maggie Whitehead (pictured above) fourth.
This time around Forrester and Whitehead are back and will face tough competition from a field including another 10 members past and present of England boys’ and girls’ squads!
“I like the course – it’s a lovely track and it suits my game” added Forrester who is off to study at East Tennessee State in August.
“A course where you need to think suits me. I’m not an absolute bomber, sadly. But I can play a strategic game.”
Forrester reluctantly handed back the trophy on arrival at Woodhall Spa for his practice round. Dad Andy deserves the praise for ensuring it returned in good nick!
“My mum didn’t want to hand it back unpolished so my dad did the duty,” joked Forrester who will be cheered on by Andy, mum Kath and brother Finley again this week.
“I hope I can get it back on Sunday night!”