Ireland’s Joshua Hill produced some record-breaking golf on his way to winning his maiden international title at the English Boys’ Under-16 Stroke Play Championship (McGregor Trophy) at Radcliffe-on-Trent Golf Club in Nottingham.
The 15-year-old from Galgorm Castle opened the event with a course record six-under par 64 and then shot a 72 and a 70 before coming from four shots behind to beat Scotland’s Cameron Adam with a last round of 70.
The Scot went into the final round on the back of two successive rounds of 66 but dropped five shots to par on an opening nine of 40 before completing an inward nine of 35 with a birdie on the last.
Hill’s four-under par 276 total saw him finish a single shot ahead of Adam and also reversed the result at last week’s Scottish Under 16 Open which Adam won in front of his home fans at Royal Burgess in Edinburgh and Hill finished third.
“This is unbelievable,” said Hill. “Coming into the last round I didn’t think I had much of a chance but after 12 or 13 holes I knew I was in with a shout so I told myself to keep my head down and see what happened.
“There was a lot of pressure on me for those last few holes but I managed to cope with it.
“To be honest it’s all a bit of a surprise because Cameron is such a good player. I thought he’d shoot level or one over and I’d have to go really low but that’s not what happened. It just shows that you never know.”
Further down the leaderboard Spain’s Eduardo De Los Rios fired seven birdies in a closing round of 67 to climb up into third place on one-under par 279. Adam’s compatriot Cameron Johnstone carded a closing round of 70 to share fourth place with England’s Rohan Miah on level par 280 while English trio Matthew Dodd-Berry, Jack Bigham and Harley Smith all finished in a share of sixth place one shot further behind.
Smith also won the Jean Case Salver for the leading Under 15 player in the field in what was his first appearance in an England Golf event.
The 14-year-old from The Rayleigh Club in Essex set himself up for victory with a five-under par 66 in the third round and then went on to post a 74 to finish five shots ahead of Italy’s Pietro Guido Fenoglio on one over par 281.
“It has been a great day,” he said. “I shot my lowest ever round in the morning and then recovered from a bad start this afternoon to get a decent score.
“This is the first year I’ve played in the big events so to win so early is incredible.
“I drove the ball really well this morning which you need to do round here. It’s not a long course but you have to keep it play and that’s what I did for most of the day.”
Photo credit: Leaderboard photography