Opens: North of England U-16s Boys Strokeplay

ANOTHER MAJOR TITLE: North Of England U-16s winner Sam Easterbrook

Fast start to final round puts Sam in the clear

N of Eng: Monday, August 23rd

FORMAT: 72-hole strokeplay

A sensational start to his final round at the North of England U-16s Open set up another another major junior title for Warwickshire’s Sam Easterbrook.

The 16-year-old, who last month reached the last 16 of the English Amateur at Moortown and also won the Scottish U-16s Boys at Dumfries & County, turned it on just when he needed it, closing with the lowest round of the week (68) to finish two clear of Surrey sensation Kris Kim (Walton Heath).

Sam, who tees up at the Peter McEvoy Trophy this week, began his fourth round with three tap-in birdies and got to six under par for 14 holes before bogeying 16 and 18, which gave him a seven-under-par total overall.

“It was just one of those rounds where everything was going straight at the flag,” said Sam, who is a member at Olton and Wishaw. “If my putter had got hot I could have gone really low.”

For the runner-up there was considerable consolation of the U-14s trophy to add to the England U-14s title he won at the start of the month.

At halfway they were all chasing Leicstershire’s Frazer Jones (Kirkby Muxloe), who led by two from Scotland’s Oliver Mukherjee (Loretto), Kim and the eventual champion, who overcame the blow of four-putting the 16th to open with a 71 and then repeat the score in round two.

With the two leaders paired together for the final 36 holes the tone was set early as Jones extended his lead with a birdie at the first before Sam responded in kind at the next.

However there was massive blow to the 36-hole leader’s chances as he started the back nine with a triple bogey and would eventually record a 76. 

Meanwhile Sam posted his third successive 71 to lead by one from Kim and Mukherjee but then the fireworks started.

At both the first and second he put his approach shots to 12 inches and at the next fired one into three feet.

He missed a good birdie chance at five before chipping in at the sixth and almost pitching in at the seventh, the ball spinning back to the front of the green.

At eight and nine again he had good looks for birdie but did manage to get to five under at the short par fourth 11th and then got to nine under for the tournament with a two at the 14th.

The 16th would return to haunt him as he three putted to drop a shot and at 18 found trouble off the tee. He had to chip out of hazard before finding the short stuff with his third and then just failing with the par putt.

The Surrey youngster’s closing 69 left him two ahead of Jones, who recovered well in the afternoon to finish third ahead of Huddersfield’s Louie Walsh with Mukherjee being relegated to fifth after a closing 74.

Leading scores (par 72, Eng unless stated)
1) Sam Easterbrook (Wishaw) 71, 71, 71, 68, 281 (-7)
2) Kris Kim (Walton Heath) 71, 71, 72, 69, 283 (-5)*
3) Frazer Jones (Kirby Muxloe) 70, 70, 76, 69, 285 (-3)
4) Louie Walsh (Huddersfield) 74, 74, 70, 69, 287 (-1)
5) Oliver Mukherjee (Loretto, Sco) 73, 70, 71, 74, 288 (Level)
6) Connor-Macleod Graham (Blairgowrie, Sco) 73, 75, 74, 69, 291 (+3)
7= Tyler Weaver (Bury St Edmunds) 78, 70, 75, 70, 293 (+5)
7= Harry Bent (Gullane, Sco) 72, 72, 77, 72, 293 (+5)
9= Jack Lee (Rochester & Cobham) 73, 73, 75, 73, 294 (+6)
9= Daniel Hayes (Bramhall) 76, 72, 69, 77, 294 (+6)