Gough masters Mjaaseth to lift Spanish Men’s Amateur title

John Gough has admitted he’s thrilled to join a legendary roll of honour featuring names such as Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Danny Willett after being crowned Spanish Men’s Amateur champion.

The England men’s squad player stormed to a 6&5 victory over Norway’s Michael Mjaaseth in the 107th edition of the famous event staged at Sherry Golf near Jerez.

The reigning English Men’s Amateur champion teed up the second prestigious win of his career with a flawless morning round which saw him take a four-hole lead into lunch.

Three birdies and 15 pars were too much for the young Norwegian to handle and left him with a mountain to climb in the second round.

Mjaaseth did fight back to halve the deficit after just three holes of the afternoon round.

However, Gough didn’t panic and was able to turn the screw and claim three consecutive holes around the turn to help seal an emphatic win.

With this victory, the 23-year-old becomes the 15th Englishman to get his hands on the famous King’s Cup trophy and emulates some players who went on to become leading lights in the game after claiming the title.

Previous winners include three Masters champions – Olazabal winning in 1983 and 1984, Garcia securing the crown in 1998 and another former England Golf graduate, Willett, getting his hands on the huge trophy in 2008.

Other notable winners include 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke and European Tour winners Joost Luiten and Jose Manuel Lara.

The last Englishman to win this event prior to Gough was Billy McKenzie in 2018.

For Gough, the victory was satisfying after six long days of intense competition.

He said: “I’m so proud to have won this fantastic event.

“It’s been a very tough week but I feel as if I’ve been building up to this.

”To hold the English and now the Spanish amateur titles at the same time is amazing. That’s something which doesn’t happen very often and is something that really brings it home to me how big an achievement this is.

“The final of the English was close and I didn’t get a chance to really relax and enjoy that win until it was over.

“This time I had more of a cushion and it was great to enjoy the day – I’m on cloud nine.

“Obviously there are some great names on this main trophy and it’s humbling to follow some of these guys.

“I actually get to take home a magnificent trophy of a silver sailing ship – presented to me by a Spanish admiral, no less – which is amazing.

“I played flawless golf in the morning to set up a strong lead, but then hit one out of bounds with my first shot of the afternoon!

“But I steadied myself and was able to regroup to close it out.”

Gough’s passage to the knockout stages was earned thanks to rounds of 68 and 73 for a total of -3 and a tied fourth finish in the stroke play section of the tournament.

As the fifth seed, his first task in the knockout stages was to take on England colleague Jack Brooks – winning a thrilling match on the 23rd hole.

A 6&5 win over Lewis Irvine from Scotland was more straightforward as was a 5&3 triumph over Germany’s Tim Wiedemeyer in the last 16.

Ireland’s Hugh Foley took Gough to the 20th hole before the Englishman prevailed and then a 2&1 win against Germany’s Yannick Malik in the semi-final earned Gough a crack at the title.

Gough was in supreme form in the final and thoroughly deserved his win.

England colleague Jack Bigham acted as caddie and Gough was cheered on by a posse of other England teammates who had stayed on to watch the drama unfold.

Gough added: “The match against Brooksy in the knockout stages could have gone either way and I think the win against Hugh was really significant as we were both on top of our game.

”It was great having Jack Bigham on my bag for the final as he helped calm me down at times – although he was getting a bit excitable near the end!

“Having my mates walking round was also great – Callan Barrow and Harvey Byers drenched me with champagne on the 18th green.

“I didn’t mind too much.

“I made sure to thank them all individually for their support because it means so much.

“Now it’s on to the next challenge. I’m playing in the Sunningdale Foursomes with Harvey this week – and we’ll give that our best shot.

“You know me – I just take things as they happen, but I like the feeling of winning and will try to win more as the season goes on.”

Click here for scoring details of the week.

John’s Road to Victory

Stroke Play qualifying: 68, 73 (Tied 4th)

Round of 64: Won on 20th hole v Jack Brooks

Round of 32: Won 6&5 v Lewis Irvine

Round of 16: Won 2&1 v Tim Wiedemeyer

Quarter-final: Won on 20th hole v Hugh Foley

Semi-final: Won 2&1 v Yannick Malik 2&1

Final: Won 6&5 v Michael Mjaaseth

 

Photography credit: RFE Golf/Adolfo Juan Luna