Wales Golf: 2022 Men’s Open Stroke Play

FULLY FOCUSED: Welsh Men’s Stroke Play champion Caolan Burford tees off the first in his final round. All pictures courtesy of Wales Golf

Junior international Caolan Burford hold his nerve to see off Roberts and Lundgren at Ashburnham

WALES GOLF: Monday, April 25th

FORMAT: 72-hole Strokeplay

Rhuddlan junior Caolan Burford showed incredible maturity to hold off the last-day charges of Royal Porthcawl’s Matt Roberts and Sweden’s David Lundgren and claim the Welsh Open Stroke Play at Ashburnham Golf Club.

The Welsh Boys player took the lead in the second round and with 11 holes to go was four clear of the field at the Llanellli venue.

But then Welsh international Roberts played the back nine in five under while Lundgren, who started the final day two back of Burford, birdied nine, 11, 12, 13 and 14 to put himself right in the mix.

The long-time leader’s putter also got hot down the stretch and, as he stood on the 17th tee, he checked the scoreboard for the first time and discovered one more birdie was required to ease back ahead of Roberts.

And it would come at the penultimate hole as he holed out from 15 feet to get under par for the tournament. At the 18th he needed to get down in two from 30 feet to win the biggest title of his life and he made no mistake. He was also the first home winner in the event for nine years.

“Having led for so long, I knew what I was doing was right,” said the 17-year-old, who came into the event in good form having finished seventh at the Scottish Boys Open last week.

“I hit the ball well all week but my putting was the key. I didn’t have two putt throughout the whole event and I stayed patient and waited for my putting to get me over the line.

“It has certainly given me confidence I can compete with the best and also for the rst of the year.”

STUNNING FINALE: Highlights and interviews from Ashburnham, courtesy of Wales Golf

Patience was certainly critical as the players were forced to adjust to a different wind direction on Sunday.

It made a huge difference at the tenth where Burford hit a drive and a 7 iron into the 552-yarder. Two putts gave him his third birdie of the day and also got himself back under par for his round. At the previous hole, which had been causing massive problems for the field all week, he saved himself in expert fashion after driving into a fairway bunker and the getting up an down from 64 yards.

The firm greens also ensured the scoring was never going to be low and and at the par three 13th, Burford took advantage of the upwind. He was able to stop the ball five feet from the flag and make a two.

There was then a huge birdie two holes later. The par four 15th had hardly given up any threes but the North Wales youngster rattled in a 20-footer before dropping a shot at the next. At the par three he short-sided himself by finding sand from the tee and, despite an excellent recovery shot, he just missed with the par putt from 10 feet.

A few minutes earlier Roberts had signed for a closing 67 (-5) to leave the competition on a knife-edge while Lundgren would finish with a 69 to be one further back.

Burford added: “At 17 I told myself… ‘Come on…just four good swings’. In the end it was three good swings and thankfully that was enough.”

At the last his tee shot found the rough but he “caught a decent lie” and held his nerve to find the fringe. From there his rock-solid putting did the rest plus there was the bonus of his first WAGR points. 

THIS IS THE ONE: Scotland’s Fergus Milne celebrates his hole in one at the 13th

The four-day event would also be memorable for Jack Kurzberg (Foxhills) and Fergus Milne (Banchory). Both players holed in one on day two. The English player, who finished tenth, aced the 16th while the Scottish golfer managed at at the 13th.

Leadings scores – Welsh unless stated (par 72)
1) Caolan Burford (Rhuddlan) 74, 70, 74, 69, 287 (-1)
2) Matt Roberts (Royal Porthcawl) 73, 74, 74, 67, 288 (Level)
3) David Lundgren (Kirstianstads, Swe) 73, 77, 70, 69, 288 (+1)
4) Paddy Mullins (Whitchurch (Cardiff)) 76, 72, 72, 70, 290 (+2)
5) Tom Bastow (Isle of Purbeck) 71, 75, 74, 72, 292 (+4)
6= Sean David (Plye & Kenfig) 71, 75, 77, 72, 295 (+7)
6= James Ashfield (Delamere Forest) 67, 79, 76, 73, 295 (+7)
6= Ross Laird (Glenbervie, Sco) 73, 72, 76, 74, 295 (+7)
9) Richard Hooper (Machynys Peninsula) 76, 74, 74, 72, 296 (+8)
10= Jack Kurzberg (Foxhills, Eng) 75, 73, 80, 69, 297 (+9)
10= Jack McDonald (Schloss Roxburghe, Sco) 74, 78, 72, 73, 297 (+9) 
10= Monty Scowscill (Woodbridge, Eng) 76, 75, 73, 73, 297 (+9)
For full scores click here

GREAT MOMENT: Jack Kurzberg at the 16th