Teenager Alexandre Lasalarie became the third French winner of the Reid Trophy today when he sealed a tense, two-shot victory at Preston Golf Club in Lancashire.
He was level par for the 54-hole English U14 boys’ open championship and held off a determined challenge in the final round from Pedro Marin Santander of Spain.
“It was very, very close,” said Jason Belot, who accompanied the French squad. “It is Alexandre’s first major win, first international win and it is the beginning of great things, we hope.”
Lasalarie, 14, (image © Leaderboard Photography) shot level par 71 in the final round while his rival, who trailed by three at the start of the day, scored one-under 70.
The French boy demonstrated great tenacity, getting up and down for par five times in a row on the outward half to stay ahead. But the Spanish youngster eventually managed to close the gap after eight holes, which he played in one-under while Lasalarie was two over.
However, the French player immediately grabbed back the initiative with a birdie on the ninth – and stayed ahead for the rest of the match. Marin Santander dropped two behind when he bogeyed the 11th and although he birdied the 13th he couldn’t catch Lasalarie.
Lasalarie, who lives on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, played great golf on the back nine, with eight pars – including a fine save on 16 where he drove into a bunker – and a birdie on the 17th, which gave him a two-shot buffer playing the last.
The previous French winners of the Reid Trophy were Antoine Kuoch in 2013 and Stanislas Gautier, who won the title in 2007.
Third place went to Denmark’s Rasmuss Hojgaard who returned 70 today for a three-over total. Another Dane, Rasmus Bofill, was fourth on four-over.
The leading English player was Cambridgeshire’s Dominic Clemons (Gog Magog), who closed with one-over 72 to take fifth place on six-over par.
Also in the top ten was Worksop’s Eddie Turner-Bennett, who relaxed after the second round with a game of crazy golf – and returned to the course to shoot four-under 67, the low score of the tournament.
His pitching was first class and helped him to set up six birdies, reaching the turn in level par and coming home in four-under 31.
It’s his best round in competition and the 14-year-old said: “I hadn’t done too great in the last two days but now, overall I have done all right. My short game was poor, but today it was excellent.
Turner-Bennett, a past winner of the Sheffield U14 title, finished the championship in seventh place on eight-over par.
Nya Fraser-Lawrence (Hendon) birdied two of the last four holes to secure 10th place on 10-over par.
The top six players in the championship all get automatic entry into next year’s English Boys U16 Championship for the McGregor Trophy.
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