Tournament Newsroom

Jack Cope
31 May 2018

Five under leads as Brabazon Trophy play is suspended

Torrential rain put the dampener on excellent scoring and halted the first round of the Brabazon Trophy on the Red course at Frilford Heath Golf Club, Oxfordshire. 

With three players tied at five-under 67 in the English men’s open amateur championship, play was suspended when the greens flooded in the prolonged downpour. 
Just over half of the players have completed 18 holes. The others will return to the course at 8am tomorrow to complete the first round.  The second round will be played on Saturday, with the top 60 players and ties, subject to numbers, returning to play 36 holes on Sunday. 
The early starters were well aware of an ominous weather forecast and were clearly in a hurry to post good scores. Thirty-three beat par before rain stopped play, with the lead shared on five-under by Germany’s Ferdi Mueller, South Africa’s No 1 Wilco Nienaber and England teenager Jack Cope, pictured top (The Players Club, Gloucestershire). 
The former boy international is playing in the Brabazon for the first time and marked the occasion with his first bogey-free round in competition. “I was patient, my iron play was good and all my birdie putts were inside 10ft, nothing was from a stupid distance,” said Cope, 18. 
Ferdi Mueller, 20, (pictured left) is teeing up in his first big tournament in four months and quickly found the groove, with a flawless score of 13 pars and five birdies. 
He took advantage of the par fives and holed a monster putt on 17 on the way to his 67. “I practise a lot and work out and it’s great that it’s paid off,” he said.
Wilco Nienaber (pictured below) is part of a three-man squad from South Africa and brings good form with him, having won both the stroke play and match play sections of the Western Province Amateur. 
He, too, was patient today – and was rewarded with a string of birdies at the end of his round, on 13, 15, 16 and 18. 
“Until the 13th I was shaving the edge,” said the 18-year-old. “Golf is funny, you miss every putt and as soon as one goes in they all start to go in.” 
Behind them is a group of five players on four-under including England international David Hague (Malton & Norton, Yorkshire), who shot 68 despite a driver crisis. 
His club broke in practice yesterday, but his grandfather had come to watch and had his clubs in the car. Hague borrowed his driver – an identical model – and used it to set up a bogey-free 68. He hit plenty of fairways and his wedge was also on top form, providing him with tap-in birdies on 13 and 15.
Joining him on four-under is Ryan Brooks (Whittington Heath, Staffordshire), David Houlding (Moortown, Yorkshire), Stuart Easton (Irvine, Scotland) and Dan Brown (Littlestone, Kent).  
English amateur champion Todd Clements (Braintree, Essex) had to pull out of the championship before hitting a shot, after injuring his back. “It’s devastating,” he said as he left to visit the physiotherapist. 
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Images copyright Leaderboard Photography 

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