Marsh forces play-off in Portuguese championship

Nick Marsh

England international Nick Marsh raced up the leaderboard and forced a play-off in the Portuguese international amateur championship with a final round of six-under 66 at the Montado resort.

It was the low round of the championship and it shot him from a share of ninth place, after three rounds, to a tie with Italy’s Renato Paratore on seven-under par after the regulation 72 holes.

However, Marsh’s impressive challenge ended on the first play-off hole, where both players were bunkered beside the green and the Italian got up and down to win the title.

Marsh, from Huddersfield, reported to his Twitter followers: “Lost in a play-off unfortunately …. Still finished 2nd. Had a great week!!”

The 19-year-old was one-under par at the start of the final round and five shots off the lead, held then by Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult. The Yorkshireman charged through the field with four birdies on the front nine, before slipping back with bogeys on the 10th and 11th.  But he was quickly back on the birdie trail, playing the remaining seven holes in four-under to set the tournament target on seven-under.

It was matched by Paratore, who was playing in the final group, and who scored two-under 70 to take his place in the play-off – en route to the title.

Marsh, who helped England win the Home Internationals at Ganton last summer, is clearly on form in 2014, having already secured a top ten finish in the South American amateur.

Two other English players finished in the top ten in the Portuguese championship: Ashley Chesters, the European champion from Hawkstone Park in Shropshire & Herefordshire, tied fifth on three-under; and Luke Johnson (King’s Lynn, Norfolk) shared seventh place on two-under.