Local man Martin Foulkes deserved to win the English Men’s Mid Amateur Championship for the Logan Trophy at his home club of Worksop even if he had to win it twice.
He looked to be cruising to the title with a comfortable four-shot lead with two holes to play when disaster struck. A quadruple-bogey eight at the 17th when he tangled with the punishing rough, saw the 36 year old finish with a level par 72 for 214, two under, and into a tie with Paul Kirkwood, who returned 71.
It meant a sudden death playoff, Foulkes winning with a par four at the first hole after Kirkwood had missed the fairway and the green then failed with his par putt.
“It proved more difficult that it should have been but I got there in the end,” said Foulkes. “I’ve possibly taken eight on the 17th before but I can’t remember when. But this is a massive win for me. I’ve won county events but never a national title.
“It’s also massive for the club. Playing on your home course brings extra pressure and there were so many good players in the field. I’m delighted.”
In ideal conditions but with the course asking its usual difficult questions, particularly on the greens, Foulkes began the day sharing the lead on two under with Scot David Primrose. But the Worksop man raced away, covering the front nine in 32 strokes with an eagle and three birdies.
That saw him open a five-shot lead which no one managed to reduce. It looked a one-horse race with Foulkes seemingly cantering home. But the 17th came back to bite him.
He drove into the left rough, gained a free drop from a staked tree, then took three more shots to escape before his approach finished short of the green. A chip and two putts later and his advantage had disappeared.
“In hindsight I should have just chipped out,” Foulkes added. “After that my head was spinning. Before I teed off on 17 I was cruising. I didn’t know the situation but at six under, I didn’t think anyone had got to that and if I could finish four-three I would be O.K. Then that happened.”
At the last he still had a chance to win in normal time if he could hole a lengthy putt. But, with his head still spinning, he had to settle for a par three and extra time.
Kirkwood admitted he wasn’t expecting to be in a playoff. “I saw Martin having trouble on the 17th but I didn’t know that he had taken eight,” he said.
“I had a good go at my putt in the playoff but I wasn’t expecting to do this well this week. “I’m a bit disappointed but fair play to Martin to make par and he deserved to win.”
Surrey-based Primrose closed his successful week with 74 for 216, level par, and third spot with Lancashire’s Michael Hunt, who returned a second successive 70 for 217.
Past champion Martin Young (74) from Hampshire and Justin Phelps (71) from Middlesex shared fifth place on 219, while Worcestershire’s Paul Scarrett, joint runner-up a year ago, posted 69, the best round of the day, for equal seventh spot.
For the second successive day the tournament was graced by a hole-in-one. It was achieved by Stephen Brennan who sank his five iron tee shot at the 207-yard eighth hole.
“The ball faded into the flag and my wife told me it had gone in,” said Yorkshire-based Brennan. “It was my sixth hole-in-one but only the second in competition.”