England boy international Ashton Turner came from five strokes back to win the Bernard Darwin Salver, the South of England Youths Championship, in a dramatic playoff at Rye.
Just six days short of his 17th birthday, Turner (image copyright Tom Ward) carded a closing five-birdie 64 to catch Devon’s Jimmy Mullen on 272, level par, before taking the title spectacularly with birdies on both the playoff holes.
“I am really pleased to win and to make a great start to the year,” said Turner. “Although I was five behind with a round to play I still felt I had a chance but I was only one under for the front nine in the final round."
The Lincolnshire lad managed two more birdies before the 15th but turned in a sparkling finish with birdies on the closing two holes to catch Mullen. The 19 year old from Royal North Devon, went into the final round on 203 but returned 69 to leave the door open for the fast-finishing Turner. In the playoff, Turner birdied the par four 15th which Mullen parred, then at the 18th, another par four, Turner sealed his victory with a chip-in birdie. “The weather wasn’t too bad but considering it is so early in the year and they’d had snow, the course was in good condition and I felt the greens were so smooth,” added the lad from Kenwick Park.
It was Turner’s first victory since winning the Boys County Champions Tournament at Woodhall Spa last August and a boost to his chances in next week’s Michel Carlhian Trophy in France.
Leading final scores:
272 A Turner (Kenwick Park) 70 69 69 64, J Mullen (Royal North Devon) 67 69 67 69 (Turner won two-hole playoff)
277 F Sheridan-Mills (Walsall) 72 66 70 69