Albatross at opening hole kick-starts thrilling run to first big title for Yorkshire ace Ben Brown
OPENS: Tuesday May 3rd
FORMAT: 72-hole gross stroke play
Winning your first big tournament is always a huge deal but the manner in which Yorkshire’s Ben Brown claimed the Fairhaven Trophy on Sunday made it that extra bit special.
The Romanby junior was three behind leader Wilhelm Rydiing (Sweden) after the opening round and was in the first group out on Saturday morning. Just a few minutes later he was the joint leader after holing out from 230 yards for his first-ever albatross.
The miracle shot kicked started his charge towards the title and the following day he finished five shots clear of fellow Tyke Dylan Shaw-Radford (Huddersfield), the Scottish Boys Open champion.
And it turned into quite a weekend for juniors from the White Rose county as England Boys player Josh Berry (Doncaster) broke the course record on Sunday afternoon to finish fourth, just a shot behind third-placed Wilmer Edero (Sweden).
For Brown, the brother of 2016 England Amateur champion Dan, his second shot with a three iron on that still, sunny morning is one he will never forget.
“It all felt a bit weird,” said the 17-year-old, who has had a hole-in-one.
“I was stood on the second tee thinking: ‘God I am three under after one hole!’
“I didn’t see it go in and thought it had gone through the back but as I was walking towards the green, one of my playing partners just looked in the hole and there it was.
“I knew it was on a good line but you just don’t expect things like that to happen.”
Brown’s two on the long par five set up a six-under-par 66 and put him two ahead at halfway.
The next morning his second shot at the opening hole wasn’t quite as accurate. It came to rest 80 feet away but the North Yorkshire player proceeded to sink it for an outrageous eagle to double his lead over Shaw-Radford and his third round 69 would put him three ahead going into the afternoon 18.
“I was six under par on the first hole across all four rounds so I think it is fair to say it is my new favourite hole,” added the Yorkshire county player.
“I have played foursomes with Dylan and in the final round it did have a bit of matchplay feel because the guy in third was four or five further back.”
In the fourth round, the leader, watched by his mum Kay and big brother Dan, reached the turn in two under and despite an ugly seven at the tenth, was never seriously threatened by his county team-mate.
“He (Shaw-Radford) never really got close and I played boring golf in that final round. I was just trying to find the centre of the green and let him try and catch me.”
In fact for a while it looked like Brown’s biggest danger was the inspired Berry, who started the final round 14 shots back and also recently got his first ever albatross. The Doncaster golfer got to seven under for his round after just 14 holes to leave himself six back but a bogey at the par five 15th halted the charge. He did birdie one more (the 18th) to beat the course record by one.
Meanwhile a double bogey at the 11th for Shaw-Radford left him five behind and effectively ended the competition as a contest while Brown parred six holes in a row down the stretch before rounding things off in style. A birdie at 18 left himself ten under par overall and an incredible -12 for the four par fives (1, 3, 15 and 18).
In the girls event Irish, player Katie Poots had a brilliant weekend to pip Isla McDonald-Brien (Shrewsbury) to the title. The Knock GC golfer was five under par for her final two rounds and won by two shots.