It has been ten years since an overseas player won the McGregor Trophy but John Axelsen could be the lad to change that after firing a course record 66 in the opening round of the English Boys under 16 Championship at Seacroft.
The young Dane (Image © Leaderboard Photography) basked in the sunshine of Skegness to lead by two from Matthew Myers from Northamptonshire and by three from the rest of the field.
The 15 year old from the Soro club near Copenhagen didn’t drop a shot and built his round with four successive birdies from the eighth. He also picked up a shot at the second and said he had several more chances coming home.
Axelsen, a member of the Danish squad in last week’s European Boys Team Championships in Scotland, covered both nines in 33 strokes but admitted he hadn’t played so well for his country. “I played better today and had lots of chances,” he said.
Myers, at 15, the younger brother of Adam Myers, winner of the McGregor Trophy in 2005 and now a club professional, also found five birdies along with a pair of bogeys for his 68. “I putted well and holed out a lot,” he said.
“This is a nice course. I played here in a regional match earlier this year so I knew the layout which helped. Then I shot 68 after a 74. It’s a bit more fiery now but I don’t mind that and the greens are soft.”
A member of the Northamptonshire under 18 team, Matthew (pictured left after setting the early pace, © Leaderboard Photography) covered both nines in 34 and added: “It’s been a quiet golf year for me. I’ve just finished my exams so perhaps I’ll be able to play a bit more now.”
Marcus Sewell from Shooters Hill is one of four players on 69 and owed his score to a birdie-eagle-birdie finish. The eagle came at the 448-yard 17th where he holed a six iron second shot from 190 yards. “It was more luck than anything,” he admitted. It bisected the birdies, which were achieved with ten foot putts.
It was unlucky 13 for another on 69. Jordan Boulton from Nottinghamshire reached the turn in a best-of-the-day 31, five under par. But he took a quadruple nine at the long 13th after firing his second shot against a fence, failing to escape after two more shots, took a penalty drop and three more to get down. “I managed to recover after that,” he said. “I am happy with two under after a nine.”
William Enefer from Telford in Shropshire is another on 69 along with Northern Ireland’s Marc Norton.
Early on, it looked as if Northumberland’s Matty Lamb would be the pace-setter. He reached the turn in 32, four under par, with an eagle-three at the ninth, but four bogeys in five holes from the 11th brought him back to the field.
However, the winner of the recent Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters, signed off well with a final hole birdie for 70 and said: “I didn’t hit it as well on the back nine as I did at the start.”
Also on one-under-par 70 are Marco Penge and Bradley Moore, two members of the England team in last week’s European Boys in Scotland.
Penge, winner of the Fairhaven Trophy and the South Region Schools Championship this year, was looking set for a big sub-par score when he stood at four under with two to play. But a six-five finish, representing three dropped shots, saw him sign for 70.
“I lost my ball off the tee at 17 but made par with the second,” he said. “Then at 18, I missed the green, and then failed to hole a seven-footer for par. I’ve played a lot recently, really enjoyed the European Boys, which was a great experience, but I’m a bit tired.”
Fatigue might have been a reason for Moore’s 70 but he managed a storming birdie-birdie finish, holing from ten feet at 17 and from 15 feet at the last.
In the first round of the Nations Cup competition, Denmark lead on four-under-par 138 by two from England 1 with England 2 in third place on 141.