English Golf Courses

Smith show class to win Brabazon

Jordan puts selection heartache to back of his mind at Formby

JORDAN SMITH put the disappointment of not being selected for England’s European Team Championships squad behind him by lifting the Brabazon Trophy in fine fashion as calm conditions returned to Formby.

After a testing week of rain and wind, Smith carded a closing round of 70 for 286, two-under-par, and a four-shot winning margin over playing partner Brian Casey from Ireland, who returned 74.

Smith led almost from start to finish and his calm, laid-back approach was just what was needed in a week when the elements did everything it could to make things difficult for everyone. But the victory tasted sweet for the 20-year-old from Wiltshire.

“I’m over the moon to get my name on the trophy,” he said. “I was disappointed not to make the team for the Europeans but I suppose it was a difficult choice. But I think not being picked urged me on to prove a point and I’ve played really well this week in difficult conditions.

TREBLE

“I suppose I’ve stopped Neil [Raymond] completing the treble but I’m sure he’ll understand. I think he was left out of a European event when he won the Brabazon last year.”

Smith began the final round tied with playing partner Casey on level par but the England man was soon forging ahead with three birdies in the opening five holes.

He dropped shots at the seventh and ninth, the latter when he air-mailed the green into knee-high rough. “I had 205 yards and hit a 4-iron and couldn’t believe it when it finished over the green.”

But he reduced the damage to one shot to be out in 36 while another birdie at the long 17th confirmed his success.

Casey managed to stay in touch with Smith over the front nine but he came to grief on the homeward stretch, dropping shots at the 12th and 14th before the victory slipped from his grasp at the 400 yard 15th where he found punishing rough, failed to get out first time, and took a double-bogey six.

TOUGH

With so many players in with a shout at the start, it was difficult to pick a winner. But several made a brave bid, none more so than another international Ben Taylor. The man from Walton Heath produced the best round of the week with a five-birdie 68, which hauled him up to joint third on 291.

On the same mark were Nathan Kimsey, Alfie Plant and Jimmy Mullen, whose 71 included an ace at the 139-yard 16th where he fired an 8-iron that never left the flag.

“It was my first ace in competition but I’d had one before when I was in Australia,” said the young man from Devon.

Neil Raymond, seeking to make history with a third successive victory, finished joint 13th. “I played great this week but didn’t take as many chances as I should have done,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure on me but I started the round birdie, birdie and felt I was going to post a good number, but the putter let me down. But Jordan is a great lad and is a worthy champion.”

The Henriques Salver for the best score by a player aged under 20 from Britain and Ireland went to Max Orrin, while Ryan Evans won the Scrutton Jug for the lowest aggregate from the Brabazon and Berkshire Trophies.

Photo© Leaderboard Photography

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