A closing best-of-the-day 71 saw Max Orrin become the ‘local hero’ by winning the South East of England Links Championship at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal, Kent.
The England boy cap from just up the road at North Foreland trailed Dutch international Robbie Van West by five strokes going into the final round. But his 71 for 298, 12 over par, left him a shot clear of full England international Callum Shinkwin, who closed with 75, while Van West dropped back to joint ninth with 82.
The victory provided an early present for Orrin just two days before his 19th birthday.
Conditions were not exactly perfect for the 144-strong field on the opening day at Deal with high winds, sometimes gusting to 60 mph, and dipping temperatures on the Kent coast, which was reflected in the CSS of 77.
Orrin opened with 76 to be three strokes behind leader Jack Merry from Birstall Golf Club, a remarkable effort on the day.
In the second round, played in slightly better conditions at neighbouring Royal St George’s, Luke Johnson from Norfolk carded 69 to lead on 146 by one from Van West and Chart Hills’ Mark Collins, who posted a best-of-the-day 67.
With the final two rounds back at Deal, Shinkwin’s third round 71 hoisted him up the leaderboard on 224 but two strokes behind Van West with 75 while Orrin was on 227, also after a 75.
Starting his final round from the tenth tee, Orrin’s chances seemed remote as he reached the turn in 38, two over par. But a run of four birdies in five holes from the second saw him cruise through the field to post his 71, while Shinkwin bogeyed his final hole to come up a shot short.
“These were some of the toughest conditions I’ve faced, particularly the first day,” said Orrin. “But I kept the right attitude and I was pleased with the resilience I showed. This win has to be up there because of the way I stuck to my game.”
Leading final scores:
298 M Orrin (North Foreland) 76 76 75 71
299 C Shinkwin (Moor Park) 78 75 71 75
300 L Johnson (King’s Lynn) 77 69 79 75
302 B Wall (Hayling) 80 72 78 72, J Mullen (Royal North Devon) 80 74 73 75, M Collins (Chart Hills) 80 67 78 77