English Golf Courses

Singh-Brar seals Berkhamsted win

Rising star Jack takes title after epic play-off

ENGLAND boy international Jack Singh-Brar laid down a marker for the season by winning the annual Berkhamsted Trophy after a marathon three-way play-off at the challenging Hertfordshire venue.

For the second successive year, extra time was needed after Singh-Brar finished the 36 holes on 140, two-under-par, tied with Norfolk’s Luke Johnson and Gary Oliver from Essex.

All three had par ‘fours’ at the opening two play-off holes, the first and 18th, but when they returned to the first Johnson’s three putts meant goodbye.

Back to the 18th, both Singh-Brar, below, and Oliver hit the green in regulation but after Oliver secured another par, Singh-Brar rolled in his 11-foot birdie putt for victory.

At 16 years and five months, the Hampshire lad is believed to be the youngest-ever winner of the trophy, which bears the names of such former winners as Sandy Lyle, Luke Donald and Gary Wolstenholme. But he wasn’t overawed by his success.

“It’s a good start to the season for me and will give me more confidence for my next event,” he said.

“I didn’t do anything special today, just played good golf but there is still room for improvement.”

With the players enjoying the sun on their backs at last but still with a chilly wind, Singh-Brar shared the lead at lunch with Josh Loughrey and Sam Robertshawe after a four-birdie 69 but had to settle for a level-par 71 in the afternoon. And that included a 25-footer at the last to make the play-off.

Johnson did the same in a second round 69 but 36-year-old Oliver, a re-instated professional and Essex county player, was perhaps the surprise packet. But he deserved to make the play-off after returning a best-of-the-day 68, matched by Woburn’s John Kemp.

Northumberland’s Alex Dixon might also have made the play-off but his birdie putt on the last green finished alongside the cup for a 70 and 141.

The afternoon was also marked by a fantastic hole-in-one from Sam Whitaker of Blankney Golf Club in Lincolnshire who sank his tee shot at the fifth hole.

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