Marco Penge extended his remarkable season by becoming the English Boys under 16 and under 15 champion in the heat of Seacroft Golf Club on the Lincolnshire coast.
Final day rounds of 67 and 73 gave the Sussex youngster a 72-hole aggregate of 283, one under par, and a three stroke winning margin from his England colleague Bradley Moore and Lincolnshire’s own Billy Spooner.
Taking both titles meant Penge (image copyright Leaderboard Photography) has collected four titles this year but the most significant to date is the under 16 McGregor Trophy as it means he is a national champion and joins an illustrious Roll of Honour that includes the likes of Justin Rose and several other who have gone on to be tour professionals.
“It’s been a great year for me so far,” said Penge. “But this is big. It’s a national title and follows my win in the Fairhaven. “But I didn’t play great this week. I wasn’t good off the tee, I was just trying to get it down the fairway but my short game was good.
“Perhaps I was a bit rusty as I’ve played a lot of golf recently. I had a lesson on Saturday with Ryan Fenwick at Goodwood after last week’s European Boys Team Championships and I’m off to Germany on Sunday for the European Young Masters.”
Penge began the day one shot off the lead but a morning 67 took him ahead and despite a few wobbles in his 73, he managed to stay there. “I got off to a good start and was two under after three holes this afternoon,” he added.
“But I bogeyed the fourth and sixth holes to be out in 36. But then I found a trap off the 11th tee and made another bogey followed by another dropped shot at the 13th but I managed to par in from there.”
Moore, one of four players sharing the lead before the final two rounds, shot a morning 70 to lie one behind Penge but a closing 74, which included two double bogeys on the front nine and another at the tenth, left him disappointed.
“I knew after 14 holes that I was two behind but it was my putting that let me down,” said the lad from Derbyshire. “I just couldn’t hole anything again and that has been my problem this week.”
But for an opening 77, Spooner would have taken the title back to Lincolnshire for the first time since Jim Payne in 1987. But the Boston lad played the last three rounds in four under par, the best of the 45 players that made the cut. He deserves his joint second place for that alone, his closing 69 meant he caught Moore over the final stretch.
Ireland’s Peter Kerr moved up the leaderboard with a morning 70 before a closing 73 earned him a share of fourth place on 288 with Essex-based Louis Lazarus, who also returned a closing 69.
But the best round of the afternoon, a 68, was posted by John Axelsen, the young Dane who set a course record 66 in round one. He followed that with a disastrous 82 in the wind of day two but the 68 restored a smile to the young man’s face as he finished in a share of sixth place on 291.