English Golf Courses

French Amateur glory for Hilleard

ENGLAND’S Josh Hilleard captured the French Amateur Championship in brilliant fashion, charging 18 places up the leaderboard in the final round then winning the title in a play-off.

ENGLAND’S Josh Hilleard captured the French Amateur Championship in brilliant fashion, charging 18 places up the leaderboard in the final round then winning the title in a play-off.

England international Hilleard was one-over after 54 holes and eight off the lead, when he shot a seven-under 64 in the fourth round at Chantilly.

It included a stunning run of four consecutive birdies and an eagle, which started on the fourth, and it catapulted him into a tie with Pierre Pineau of France, who also charged to the top with a closing 66.

On the first play-off hole, the short 16th, Pineau had a putt to win, but his ball lacked speed and missed on the low side. They continued to the par-4 17th where Somerset man Hilleard managed a textbook par, which gave him the title after the Frenchman found sand with his tee shot and was unable to match him.

“This is a massive thrill, more than you can imagine,” said the 20-year-old Hilleard. “You might hope one day to win from however far behind I was, but you know it’s not going to happen that often. It’s a very big confidence boost.”

Incidentally, Hilleard’s victory sees him become the first Englishman to win the title, going one better than England team-mate Marco Penge who forced a play-off in last year’s championship, only to lose to Ivan Cantero of Spain.

©The French Golf Federation

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