Bogey-free brilliance from Seb Cave secures Belfry star ‘biggest win yet’
OPENS: Sunday, April 3rd
FORMAT: 54-hole strokeplay (shortened from 72 holes)
England boys ace Seb Cave laid down a marker for 2022 with a hugely-composed victory in the first major domestic scratch open of the season for men – the Berkhamsted Trophy.
The 17-year-old has already shown considerable promise in big tournaments but yesterday took that to another level with a bogey-free 68 in the final round.
Overall, his five-under-par total for 54 holes – a harsh overnight frost meant they couldn’t get four rounds in – left him three clear of another leading teenage talent – the England U-18s and U-16s champion Harley Smith (The Rayleigh Club).
With England regular Arron Edwards-Hill (Chelmsford) and Welsh international Paddy Mullins (Whitchurch) both three shots further back in equal third, Cave’s efforts are made all-the-more impressive.
Yesterday the morning delay lasted two-and-a-half hours but that failed to disrupt the flow of the Lancashire-based schoolboy.
“This is my biggest win yet,” said the Warwickshire men’s champion,
“And I didn’t feel that nervous. The first is par three and I think, with courses that start with a short hole, if you can open with a really good mid iron it can really settle you down quickly.
“I hit a really good one, which is the best thing that could have happened to me. My mental game was really spot on.”
Cave started the third round at the Hertfordshire venue one behind Mullins, who could not replicate his excellent first two rounds while the third member of the final group – Edwards-Hill – also finished with his worst score of the competition (73).
The Belfry player could not convert for a two at the first and had another good birdie chance before he got to three under with a stunning hole-out at the fourth. Cave rolled one in from 40 feet.
He had another good look at five without success and again at six, the ball lipping out, before he found the green in regulation at the seventh but, again, could not convert.
At eight and nine his razor-sharp short game kept bogeys off the card and his second birdie of the day would follow at ten as he drained a big swinger from 10 feet.
He was blissfuly unaware of what was happening in front of him and made a point of not finding out until he got through the “tough stretch” between 10 and 15.
“After the 16th I asked and found out Harley was three behind so thought if I par in that would be enough.”
A few minutes earlier Cave had recorded his third birdie of the day at the par three 14th, firing a stunning iron to five feet at the difficult 187-yarder and his second two of the day followed in sprightly fashion.
He then missed from five feet for a birdie at the par five 16th but there would be no alarms at the closing two holes as he went bogey free in a major competition for the first time.