England Schools: Boys National Finals

England Schools champion Thomas Hawke

First for Reed’s as Thomas stays strong down the stretch

SCHOOLS: Wednesday June 30th

Surrey’s Thomas Hawke saw off the challenge of a high-class field to win the English Schools Golf Association National Championship at Belton Park.

The 17-year-old from Reed’s School edged out Hertfordshire’s Max Hopkins (Leventhorpe School) by one shot thanks to rounds of 68 and 70 for a four under par total.

The Year 12 pupil will now head up an English Schools team against their Welsh counterparts at Rolls of Monmouth GC on August 30th.

Thomas and his twin brother Matthew, who are both members at Burhill, are part of the school’s Golf Academy team which is run by former Olympic hockey player Jimmy Wallace.

“They have become our flagship pair in many ways and developed into a great partnership,” said Jimmy. “Even though there is a great rivarly, they are also incredibly supportive of each other.

“I think I am right in saying Thomas is the first Reeds pupil to win the event and hopefully it will help to attract other good players to the school.”

Reed’s has invested heavily in developing its golf programme by using its market-leading tennis programme as a template. Earlier this week former pupil Jack Draper took the first set off Novak Djokovic before losing in the first round at Wimbledon.

It employs specialist putting, swing and strength and conditioning coaches plus they also have regular sessions with a sports psychologist to aid around 60 pupils spread across four performance-based squads.

Jimmy added: “We also develop players holistically and look to produce smart on-course thinkers.

“We also ask for a big commitment from our players. At the start of every year we test and create plans for each one so they are not just turning up at the range and hitting balls, they are working on specific areas to reach agreed goals.

“We are also proud that we put a lot of emphasis on behaviour and controlling emotions while out on the course. Whereever our players go, we make sure they find the secretaries or managers to thank them for hosting events.”

At Belton Park, Thomas was the only player in the 30-strong field to break 70 in the first round and after 10 holes was four under and threatening to run away with it. However a bogey on 16 meant he closed two ahead of Max and three ahead of his schoolmate Rocky Chapman.

In the afternoon Thomas again started strongly and after seven holes was three under for his round but bogeys at eight and 10 opened up the competition although none of the chasing pack could finish strongly enough. Third placed George Wright (Hertfordshire) did get within two shots after a strong start to his back nine but a bogey at the par three 17th ended his challenge as the soon-to-be champion parred in from 11.

Thomas and Matthew both qualified for the final from the South of England Championship, where they finished first and third respectively, but a Covid-related issue prevented Matthew from taking part in the final.

Top five finishers (par 71)
1) Thomas Hawke (Surrey – Reeds School) 68, 70, 138 (-4)
2) Max Hopkins (Herts – Leventhorpe School) 70, 69, 139 (-3)
3) George Wright (Herts – Leventhorpe School) 72, 69, 141 (-1)
4) Charlie Forster (Hampshire – Peter Symonds College) 74, 69, 143 (+1)
5) Ryan Gavin (Warwicks – Finham Park) 74, 70, 144 (+2)
For all the scores click here