Matty Lamb has admitted lockdown sharpened his appetite for golf – and allowed him to cut loose this week and claim a career highlight.
The England men’s squad player saw off the challenge from international team-mate Ben Schmidt on Thursday to win the 2020 Tillman Trophy at Foxhills Golf Club in Surrey.
The Northumberland golfer’s four round total of 12 under par was enough to earn him a two-stroke victory in an event which carried not only prestige, but vital World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) points.
Lamb followed on from the 2019 success of England colleague Joe Harvey and joins a Tillman Trophy roll of honour which also includes four-time major champion Ernie Els.
Rounds of 69, 69,71 and 67 showed that there was little wrong with Lamb’s ability to score when it mattered most.
Yet the 22-year-old believes there is more to come from him now that his love for the game has been stoked again.
Lamb (pictured above after his win) said: “To be honest I didn’t play that well, but obviously I scored well.
“It was a bit scrappy from tee to green, but the putter was hot all week and I holed out really, really well.
“It just felt so good to be back out playing competitive golf again.
“It’s strange being stuck at home for months when your life has evolved around golf.
“In an odd way the lockdown maybe helped me. I began to appreciate golf again and when we were allowed to come back to the course I enjoyed it a lot more.
“For me, the break may have come at a good time.
“I was able to work on technical things by hitting into a net in my garden and was also able to talk about things with my coach Andy Paisley.
“I was able to practise things I wouldn’t have done had I been out playing all the time and it’s obviously paid off.
“Maybe being on the couch for three months is the answer!”
Lamb knew he was coming under pressure from Yorkshireman Schmidt (pictured below) down the stretch on Thursday, but was able to fend off his international colleague.
A birdie at the 72nd hole sealed the win and followed up from his success last season in the Hampshire Hog and Home Internationals with England.
Lamb – a member at Hexham Golf Club – added: “Ben has been winning everything so it was good to get over the line.
“I hadn’t played the course before this week and maybe coming into it blind helped me a little.
“I found the course fairly simple if you could keep the ball on the fairway off the tee and I avoided having any bad holes.
“Now I just want to kick on and make the most of what’s left of the season.
“I have a 2020 Pro Tour event at Rockcliffe Hall on Monday and the following week it’s the English Men’s Amateur Championship.
“I had always planned on staying focused on my amateur career until after the 2021 Walker Cup so my long-term plans haven’t changed with this year’s disruption.
“It’s a case of building on this week.”