Brilliant Ben bags U18 crown after three-way shoot-out
FOR the second year running, extra holes were required to decide the English Boys U18 Championship for the Carris Trophy before Ben Amor came up trumps to secure the biggest win of his young career.
The 18-year-old from Marlborough had finished tied on two-under-par with Italy’s Renato Paratore and Bath’s Jamie Li at West Lancashire.
Paratore was eliminated with a bogey five after an errant drive at the par four tenth, which left a head-to-head battle between the two West Country boys.
At the short 17th, the second play-off hole, Li missed the green with his tee shot and took three more to get down for bogey, while a solid par was enough to see Amor home.
“I’m in shock,” said Amor. “Words can’t describe it but it is special.
“Jamie is a fine player and hit some quality shots but I suppose everything clicked for me at the right time.”
Amor began the day tied with Paratore and fellow Italian Lorenzo Scalise but after an eagle at the second and a birdie at the fifth he had opened a three-shot advantage.
He turned in 34 and was still in charge. But he faltered on the homeward stretch with three bogeys in the last seven holes and while Paratore wasn’t setting the course on fire, the gap closed and the Italian drew level with a birdie-two at 17.
They were tied with one to play but neither could land the knock-out blow, although both had birdie chances on the final green before signing for 73 and finding that Li had set the target with a fine 70 to set up the three-way tie.
After sealing his win, Amor paid tribute to Andy McGeorge, who posted 78 before rushing to Amor’s side to take on caddying duties.
“On the 17th in the play-off, I wanted to hit a 7-iron but Andy convinced me it was an eight,” added Amor. “It worked perfectly and I can’t thank him enough.
“I suppose I had to win this championship twice. I knew I had a good lead but a few nerves got to me on the back nine. But having worked so hard on my game and the backing I have received from my parents, it’s nice to see I’m getting some rewards.”
Billy Spooner from Lincolnshire and Staffordshire’s Robert Burlison carded closing 69s to finish fifth and sixth respectively, while Li had the consolation of collecting the Hazards Salver for the lowest aggregate from this event and the McEvoy Trophy.
The championship saw many memorable shots, not least a fifth careeer hole-in-one for Northamptonshire Harrison Woan and an incredible albatross for Copt Heath’s Stefan Gnyla on day one.
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