Ace for Huggins while Gough also makes excellent start in Jerez
EGA: Tuesday, March 1st
FORMAT: 36-hole strokeplay/6-round matchplay
Olly Huggins recorded his fourth hole in one as he made a dramatic start to his challenge at Spanish International Men’s Amateur today.
The Frilford Heath golfer carded an opening 69 as the cream of continent’s players congregated at The Sherry course in Jerez. The field is the strongest seen in Europe since the start of the Covid crisis. The top 64 in the 36-hole strokeplay qualifier go forward to the matchplay stages, which start on Thursday.
Huggins had been playing well all day and was looking for a couple of closing birdies as he stood on the seventh tee one under par (his 16th). The hole was playing shorter than the pin distance of 174 yards and the experienced England international jumped into the top five with one swing.
“I was playing it like it was 162 and I knew I could hit an eight iron at least and pitch it on the front,” said Huggins.
“It was right on the flag all the way. The guys I was playing with said “that’s looking good” and walking up there we couldn’t see the ball.
“But then I saw the pitchmark a yard short of the flag and realised it went in.”
Huggins’ BB&O county team-mate John Gough (The Berkshire) is one shot better off on four under in joint second, three behind the early leader Carl Siemens (Germany).
The English Amateur champion at one point got to six under thanks to a brilliant eagle on the par five fifth (his 14th). The Berkshire ace fired his approach to five feet and made no mistake with the putt.
On his front nine he had rattled in four birdies, his round being kickstarted when he holed out from 20 feet for a two on the 12th (his third). Further birdies followed at his fifth, seventh and eighth before he dropped back to four under with back-to-back bogeys on his 16th (7th) and 17th (8th) .
The BB&O duo are part of a 26-strong British contingent taking part in the event, which has been previously won by Jose-Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett.
Well placed on one under are Walton Heath’s Harvey Byers and Lancashire star Callan Barrow.
The Surrey youngster closed with back-to-back birdies to finish in the red while the Royal Lytham ace grabbed a pair of twos as he recorded a total of three birdies during an eventful front nine.