Zach’s stellar effort secures a ‘big one’
OPENS: Monday June 21st
Essex’s Zach Chegwidden claimed his first major amateur title in some style last night, finishing on 17 under par to take the highly-coveted Berkshire Trophy.
Having just missed out on a place in the British Amateur, the 23-year-old had just enough in the tank to win the 72-hole strokeplay competition by one shot from the fast-finishing Matt Gauntlett (West Herts), who leapt up the leaderboard on the final afternoon thanks to an eight under 64.
For Zach there was considerable relief at winning a ‘big one’. He finished seventh at the Scottish Open last month, his previous best finish in elite company and hopes this can be a springboard with a number of top tournaments to come, especially the Walton Heath Trophy and English Amateur at the end of July.
“We play a sport where only one person can win every week so if you win once a year a golfer is doing well,” said Zach, who joins a list of winners which includes Eddie Pepperell, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo.
“But I do feel that winning this gets the monkey off my back and I can play more calmly and more freely now.”
The Orsett GC player certainly had plenty of freedom as he surged into contention in the second round, putting together a bogey free 65 (-6) on the blue course at The Berkshire to leave himself one back of halfway leader Tom Stagg (Salisbury & South Wilts).
“I made a solid start but in the afternoon it felt like the ball was one a piece of string,” he added. “I was picking my shots, visualising them and executing plus I was able to hole a few putts.”
He followed that up with another six under effort (66) on the red course the following morning to take a one-shot lead over Stagg going into the final round with Ashburnham’s Aled Greville a further three shot back and Gauntlett six behind.
The two leaders were playing alongside each other and after 13 holes could not be separated and they were also oblivious of the charge being mounted up ahead.
The Orsett player regained his one-shot lead over Stagg on 14, hitting his approach to four feet and holing the putt while the Wiltshire ace missed the green and got up and down for a par.
On the par five 15th, Zach drained a 25 footer for eagle to extend his lead over his playing partner to two and at the very next that advantage was four as Stagg double bogeyed the long, par par three 16th.
Both members of the final group then had problems on the par five 17th and both took six. The leader drove into heather which meant chipping out before finally missing a short putt for par.
However some misinformation, handed out after he just missed the green with his tee shot at the par three 18th, meant Zach got a very nice surprise after walking off with an up-and-down par.
“I was told 17 under was in so I thought a par would give me a share of it,” added Zach, who is now down to plus five.
“However my parents and girlfriend, who unexpectedly turned up, were waiting for me after I finished and they said 16 under par was in so I gave it the fist pump. It was a great feeling.”