Conor Gough pulled off an impressive five-shot victory in the Reid Trophy today – despite a little last hole drama at Porters Park Golf Club.
The 13-year-old was cruising home in the English U14 boys’ open championship when he caught a flier with his second to the 18th. It cleared the green and finished in an almost inaccessible position beneath tree branches.
Gough (Image © Leaderboard Photography), from Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire, opted to replay the shot and this time finished safely to the right of the green. From there he calmly played a neat up and down to complete his – slightly delayed – march to victory.
“I was shocked it went so far,” said Gough who initially took a six-iron for the 190-yard shot. “I hit a good shot but it just came out like a proper flier. But I knew I was five or six shots in the lead so I just told myself to take a double bogey and win.”
He led the championship from start to finish, opening with three-under 67, following up with one-over 71 and signing off today with 74 for a two-over par total.
“I’m really happy to win this, it was important because it’s my last year,” said Gough. “Hopefully I can look forward to winning more competitions in the future.”
The runner-up on seven-over was Nicola Gerhardsen of Switzerland whose closing level par 70 was one of the best score of the day. Third place on eight-over was shared by Lancelot Salisbury of France, who also made progress with his 71, and England’s Dominic Clemons (Gog Magog) who finished with 74.
England’s Oscar Doran (Delamere Forest) also finished in the top 10, sharing 9th place, while Joseph Wood (West Hill) and Thomas Gregory (Stoke Park) were in a group tied for 12th place.
Gough’s win completes a remarkable couple of weeks in which he has also won the U15 Douglas Johns Trophy and successfully defended the Berks, Bucks & Oxon (BB&O) U14 boys’ county championship. He’s now won that title for three years in a row, first claiming it at the age of 11, when he also had the first of his two U12 championship wins.
He set off today with a three-shot lead and played steadily throughout the round. He was a couple over par on the outward half, but his playing partners – and most of the field – were also dropping shots and as Gough turned for home he was five clear.
He underlined his dominance in the event with birdies on the 10th and 13th, both par fives which he two-putted and which got him to two-under for the championship. He was back to level as he played the 18th, but not even the final hole blip could do much to dent his progress to his first national title.
“It feels good, very good,” said Gough. “When I first got here I liked the course and I knew if I played well I could win it. Then, after my first two rounds, I thought this could be the week. I just kept to my strategy all week and today I didn’t really hit any bad shots, I was just a bit unlucky on the last.”