Essex star Clements adds name to illustrious roll call of national champions at The Berkshire
By Chris Johnston
Todd Clements picked a great time to chalk up his first-ever win. The Essex ace pipped Jack Gaunt to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood and Danny Willett by winning the English Amateur Championship.
Braintree 20-year-old Clements held his nerve to hold off his opponent, running out a 2&1 winner in the 36-hole final at The Berkshire and, afterwards, he declared: “What a way to start!” It just proves to me that I can really compete at this level. Two years ago, I was just someone who turned up to enjoy a tournament. Now, I feel I can turn up and try to win.”
The 20-year-old from Braintree, Essex, was thoroughly tested before he got his hands on the trophy and he had to produce remarkable golf to seal his win on The Berkshire’s spectacular Red course, with its carpets of heather and towering pines.
“There were a lot of highs and lows,” he added.
That’s putting it in mildly. He dominated the morning’s opening round, particularly over the back nine, to establish a four-hole lead at the halfway stage. He picked up where he left off in the second round, getting to five-up and seemingly cruising to victory.
However, Gaunt, from Drayton Park in Staffordshire, had other ideas.
In the space of just six holes, he pulled the match back to all-square, with a par on the 22nd, three consecutive birdies from the 23rd and another birdie on the 27th.
That, though, succeeded only in kicking Clements into gear. His march to the title started on the 28th, a challenging par-3, which he birdied to get back to one up.
He maintained his lead on the 30th with a battling par after he found a fairway bunker, played through the green, chipped back and holed the four-footer to match Gaunt.
Then the dramatics began. On the long 31st, he chipped in for eagle to go two-up. On the 32nd, he holed a 30-foot birdie putt to go three-up. The, on the 33rd, with Gaunt already having been conceded a birdie four, he holed another 30-footer for his own birdie and a crucial half. “
He lost the 34th after missing the green but, with Gaunt bunkered in two on the long 35th, a solid par was enough for the title.
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