Schmidt holds on – despite Hall’s record charge

Yorkshire’s Ben Schmidt withstood a record-breaking charge from Harry Hall today to hold on to a one-shot lead in the Brabazon Trophy at Alwoodley Golf Club.

Hall, from West Cornwall, swept up the leaderboard with his eight-under 63, which set a new course record and took him to 10-under in the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play.

Schmidt, meanwhile, shot two-under 69 – his third sub-par round – and is 11-under for the championship, which he is playing for the first time.

“It was tough out there today,” said the 16-year-old from Rotherham Golf Club. “There was quite a bit of pressure and a fair few people watching, but I played pretty solid. I went out there and shot under par again – I haven’t given anything back yet.”

He started well again with three birdies in the first five holes and despite a bogey on six – his first dropped shot in 27 holes – he was three-under playing the last. There he was caught out by a flier, with his seven-iron approach covering 230 yards and finishing 50 yards past the pin. It cost him a bogey – but not the lead.

Round three of a championship is traditionally moving day and it was clear from early on that today’s conditions were ideal for scoring. Harry Hall made sure he grabbed the advantage.

The 21-year-old had a quiet day on the course yesterday, scoring one-over 72. After that he tackled the jet lag which followed his Tuesday flight back from university in the USA, prescribing himself a nap and a work out.

“I came out with a lot of energy today and it paid off,” he said after signing for the third course record of his career.

His round included two eagles, five birdies and one bogey – which he credited with giving him the final push to the record.

He dropped the shot on the 15th after finding a greenside bunker and missing a 5ft putt. But he immediately followed up with two consecutive birdies.

“I hit the putt perfectly and it didn’t go in. But my reaction to that putt allowed me to make two birdies after that. I was able to start the next one on line from 6ft and it dropped,” said Hall.

He put the record in his grasp when he holed a 35ft putt for birdie on 17 and secured it with a solid par on the difficult 18th.

“I’m very pleased,” he said. “I said to a few people that it would be nice to be in contention and I think I have put myself in a good place and, hopefully, in the final group.”

Hall and Schmidt will, indeed, tee off last tomorrow at 11.58am. Behind them are Jake Hapgood of Wales, who is six-under, while Charlie Thornton (Fulford) and David Langley (Castle Royle) are both five-under.

Among the day’s big movers were Jannik de Bruyn of Germany, Luca Filippi of South Africa and England’s Billy McKenzie (Rowlands Castle) who respectively shot 67, 66 and 68 to move up the leaderboard.

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