English U18 squad member fights back from six shots behind to secure Fairhaven Trophy
MARCO PENGE, a member of the England U18 squad, pulled off the biggest victory of his golfing life when he won the boys title in the Fairhaven Trophies at Fairhaven in Lancashire.
The lad from Worthing in Sussex made up six shots in the final round to catch Scotland’s Bradley Neil then beat him in a four-hole play-off.
Neil had started the final round six strokes clear having led from the round one. But he posted a closing 77, while Penge returned 71, leaving the pair sharing top spot on level-par 288.
At the start of the final round, few would have bet against Neil lifting the trophy, even more so when he birdied the seventh hole. But he ran into trouble with a double bogey-six at the eighth before turning in 37.
At that stage Penge had made up only one shot after birdies at the first and third were cancelled by a double bogey-six at the seventh. But the back nine proved a different matter.
Neil ran up four bogeys to be back in 40, while Penge birdied 11, 12 and 15 to go two in front. But he also ran into trouble, dropping shots at 17 and 18 for an inward 35 and 71.
The playoff saw Penge take an early lead with a birdie at the first but they were level again when Neil birdied the par-three 17th after both had parred the short second.
Once again, the 18th proved Neil’s Achilles’ heel when he took a bogey six while a solid par saw Penge to victory. The victory proved an early birthday present for Penge, who turned 15 just over a week after his triumph. But the win was not totally unexpected as he has been knocking on the door this year, finishing third in the Douglas Johns Trophy, fourth in the Bernard Darwin Salver and sixth in the McEvoy Trophy.
The girls’ title went to Sophie Lamb, 15, from nearby Clitheroe, who posted a closing three-under-par 72 for 302, finishing a stroke ahead of Scotland’s Lauren Whyte with 74 for 303. After starting her final round with a double-bogey seven, Sophia’s success was built on a run of four successive birdies from the 14th for an inward 34.
This was also Sophie first national success. She won the 2012 North Region Foursomes and the Lancashire Girls’ Championship and represented Lancashire at County Finals, winning eight out of nine matches.
She also played for the winning England U16 team in last year's annual match against Spain and trains with the England Golf Select North Squad.