Opens: The Philip Kilgour Scratch Open

CAN’T QUITE BELIEVE IT: Champion Max Fullerton (The Buckinghamshire)

Max Fullerton stunned and delighted as he arrives on the big stage

OPENS: Tuesday, April 26th

FORMAT: 36-hole Strokeplay

Some days are more unforgettable than others and for student Max Fullerton he certainly had one that will live with him forever as he claimed the Philip Kilgour Scratch Open at The Buckinghamshire. 

The 19-year-old was a two handicapper only eight months ago but at the weekend held off the likes of England international Jack Brooks (The Mere) and England & Spanish Amateur champion John Gough in extraordinary fashion.

Fullerton had never gone lower than three under until Sunday afternoon when he posted a 65 (-6) in the second round to win by three shots from Brooks.

“Quite a few good players entered late and when I saw John Gough’s name on the startsheet I thought ‘that’s it then’,” said The Buckinghamshire golfer.

“And when I finished I thought ‘I can’t do any more than that.’ There were plenty of players out there who had a really low one in them but, as the scores came in, it started to looked good.”

At halfway Fullerton, who now plays off plus two, trailed Gough and Hertfordshire Bowl champion Louis Sanders (Copt Heath) by two while Brooks was just one behind the 18-hole leaders.

BREAKTHROUGH VICTORY: Teenager Max Fullerton

However, after starting on the tenth, his challenge began in earnest at his second (The 11th) as he holed out from 30 feet for an eagle.

A rain shower caught him out at the 12th and he posted a bogey but his challenge exploded into life at the 18th. Having hit his second into knee-high rough, the teenager was worried he might lose his ball but luckily found it and hit a dream chip which just cleared the bunker and “rolled in like a putt.

“It was the best eagle of my life,” said Fullerton. “After that I thought I might be in with a chance.”

He stiffed a four iron to six feet at the third (his 12th) to set up his first birdie of his round and there would be three more in quick succession after a three-putt bogey on the fourth.

At the fifth he got up and down from the bunker at the par five and then registered back-to-back birdies after parring the sixth (his 15th).

Fullerton added: “I was stood on the seventh (16th) and told my caddie I would be happy with a par-par-par finish.”

It would turn out to be a birdie-birdie-par finish as he holed out from 25 feet to get to three under for the competition and it would get even better at the next as he almost holed his tee shot at the par three eighth and took full advantage from eight feet.

A relatively straightforward par rounded things off and the long wait, to see if he finished top of the pile, was certainly worth it for the Tournament Golf College student, who is based at St Mellion in Cornwall. 

Leadings scores (par 71)
1) Max Fullerton (The Buckinghamshire) 73, 65, 138 (-4)
2) Jack Brooks (The Mere) 72, 69, 141 (-1)
3) Connor Jacob (Goring & Streatley) 72, 70, 142 (Level)
4) Adam Le Vey (Old Ford Manor) 72, 70, 142 (Level)
5) Callum Kirby (Harleyford) 73, 70, 143 (+1)
6) Taylor Paul (Harleyford) 73, 71, 144 (+2)
7) Adam Birdseye (Maidenhead) 70, 76, 146 (+4)
8) John Kemp (Woburn) 78, 69, 147 (+5)
9) Philip Kilgour Jnr (Beaconsfield) 77, 71, 148 (+6)
10) Michael Stark (Castle Royle) 75, 73, 148 (+6)
11) John Gough (Beaconsfield) 71, 77, 148 (+6)
12) Louis Sanders (Copt Heath) 71, 77, 148 (+6)
13) Matthew Sandy (Sherborne) 76, 73, 149 (+7)
14) Andrew Taylor (Woburn) 75, 74, 149 (+7)
For full scores click here