John Kemp found the missing link in his long and successful career when he rolled in a ten foot birdie putt on the final green to win the Logan Trophy, the English Men’s Mid Amateur Championship at a sun-drench Worcestershire Golf Club.
The 45 year old from Bedford carded a closing 72 for 211, two under par, and a one stroke winning margin over playing partner Paul Williams from Lancashire and local man Paul Scarrett.
Kemp (image copyright Leaderboard Photography) came into the championship with three British Mid Amateur titles but was lacking the English crown despite two runners-up spots. “I just want to get the monkey off my back,” he said with a round left. And he did just that.
“I’m chuffed to bits,” he said after collecting the trophy. “But I made hard work of it with a bogey at the 16th when I hit a six iron into a bush. I left it in there, got it out with my third shot then took three more for a bogey six.
“It put me under pressure because I knew the situation. I knew I needed a birdie at the last to win and I managed to do it with that ten footer.”
On a scorching day in the shadow of the Malvern Hills, for most of the time it seemed a two-horse race between Kemp and playing partner Williams. There was seldom more than a stroke between them but when Scarrett posted a 70 to set the target at one under 212, there was little room for error.
Both Kemp and Williams went out in 34 but the Lancastrian began faltering with three bogeys in five holes, while Kemp dropped a shot at the 11th. But they were tied again when Kemp took his six at 16 and they came to the par four last with still a shot between them. Both found the green in regulation with Williams some 30 feet from the pin and Kemp around ten feet away. In front of an eager crowd in front of the clubhouse, Williams coolly draining his for a superb three, which meant he, Scarrett and Kemp were level on one under.
It looked to be a sudden death playoff but Kemp was not to be denied and although his ball seemed to hesitate on the edge of the cup, it dropped it to the cheers of the crowd.
“That was a great way to finish, wasn’t it,” added Kemp. “It’s the sort of situation that tests you and I’m glad I passed that test. I played the front nine O.K. but the wind was different today. It switched around and all the holes played differently. It made it tricky but I’m glad I had the guts to finish the way I did.”
For his part, Williams said: about his final putt: “Well, it had to go in, didn’t it? I holed quite a few of them. John’s a great fellow and a true champion.”
Scarrett’s closing 70 certainly put the cat among the pigeons and he deserved his runner-up spot. But the best round of the day, a 68, was posted by Steve Watton from Burhill in Surrey with five birdies which hauled him up to equal ninth place on 219.
Thomas Burley from Somerset made a brave defence of the title he won last year at Saunton with a closing 72 for 221 and 14th place.