England’s Jack Singh Brar won one of golf’s big prizes when he scored a superb, wire-to-wire victory in the Lytham Trophy.
He started with an outstanding two-under par 68 in brutal conditions on the first day, when the CSS at Royal Lytham & St Annes rose to 79. Then he sealed the win with a little bit of magic on his 71st hole, where he holed out of a bunker for a birdie.
It put him one-ahead of the charging Charlie Strickland and a solid par at the last, where Strickland bogeyed, saw the 20-year-old safely home by two shots, and with a total of eight-over par.
“It got very tight and that was the shot which won me the tournament,” said Singh Brar (Remedy Oak, Dorset), who led an impressive English performance in the championship. Strickland (Ham Manor, Sussex) was runner-up on 10-under, one ahead of Jake Burnage (Saunton, Devon). Simon Richardson (Spalding, Lincolnshire) shared fourth place and, in all, eight English golfers were among the top ten and ties.
Singh Brar’s opening round was definitely the early talking point of the Lytham Trophy. On a day when half the field scored 80 or worse, he was the only player to break par, taking just 25 putts and he described it as “probably one of the best rounds of the year.”
It gave him a two-shot lead and, after a second round 73, he was still tied for the lead at the halfway stage. This morning’s 72 put him out in front on his own again, four clear of Strickland and Richardson
Then, said Singh Brar: “I tried to make it as hard as possible!” He dropped five shots on the front nine, with a couple of double bogeys out of nowhere.
He settled down on the back nine but a look at the scoreboard told him Strickland, – who has already won the Duncan Putter and the Peter McEvoy Trophy – had birdied 15 and they were tied with three holes to play. Burnage, meanwhile was just a shot behind them.
The 17th looked most unpromising for Singh Brar, who found two bunkers before holing out of the second for his crucial birdie. “It had got very tight, tighter than I wanted.”
And his reaction? “I’m just glad it’s over, it was quite a stressful round of golf. But I’m chuffed with the result.”
Singh Brar has underlined his Walker Cup ambitions with this win, which follows his earlier victory in the Hampshire Salver and his second place in the prestigious Avondale Amateur, during a successful tour of Australia at the start of the year. He has just helped England to a convincing win over Spain in the biennial mixed international.
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Caption: Jack Singh Brar with the Lytham Trophy (Image © Dr SPJ Reid)