England’s Marco Penge was just pipped in the French men’s international amateur championship when he lost a title play-off on the second extra hole in heavy rain at Chantilly.
The honours went to Ivan Cantero of Spain but Penge, who holed a 50-footer to birdie 18 and get in the play-off, was not disappointed. “It’s a learning curve for me,” he said.
“I gave it a good go and tried my best,” said the 18-year-old international from Golf at Goodwood in Sussex. “This time it wasn’t enough, but next time, you never know.
“I’ve had good start to the year and I’m really happy with the way I’m playing and looking forward to the St Andrews Links Trophy,” he went on. Penge, from the England Golf men’s squad, has proven good form north of the border, having previously won the 2015 Scottish men’s open stroke play.
Penge was five-under par and leading the French championship after 36 holes, surging to the top of the leaderboard with a second round of five-under 66, which included an eagle and five birdies. But the third round was washed out by heavy rain and the championship reduced to 54 holes.
When play resumed, Penge had to play through heavy rain on his final nine holes, losing at least one shot to the bad weather when he had to putt through puddles. “I wasn’t happy with that, but the putt on the last gave it back to me,” he remarked, after holing the monster putt for a level par last round – and five-under overall.
The Chantilly green staff made a tremendous effort to prepare one hole for the play-off, the short 16th. The green was squeegeed and the bunkers were pumped out and, first time round, both players halved in three. Cantero also managed another three at the second attempt to win the championship and the Coupe Murat.
Chantilly will host the European men’s team championship this summer and this event attracted an excellent quality field of players keen to gain course knowledge.
England Golf’s Men’s Performance Manager, Steve Burnett, watched the final round and commented: “This is a really good result for Marco in a very strong field.”
Marco also had the support of his girlfriend, England women’s international Sophie Lamb, who caddied throughout, despite the drenching rain.
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Image © Filipe Farinha