LEEDS, England — Defending champion Nick Marsh crashed out of the English Amateur at Alwoodley Golf Club on Wednesday, losing 6-and-5 to Pavan Sagoo in the first round.
Sagoo, who represented England at boys’ level and is now at university in California, was “ramped up” to be playing the titleholder and got off to a quick start. He had birdies on the first two holes and was five up through seven
“I’ve been playing well for a while, but today I holed some putts, which I haven’t been doing. It just came together,” said the 19-year-old from Ealing (Image © Leaderboard Photography).
Marsh reckoned his opponent was five-under for the match and remarked: “Pavan played really well.” He took his defeat with dignity and said of his reign: “It’s been nice.”
There were a number of other big wins during today’s seven preliminary matches and 32 first round games. Joe Dean (Lindrick, pictured below) was the first player to book his place in the second round and played some spectacular golf to defeat Matty Lamb (Hexham) 6/5.
Notably, he holed his second shot on the 12th for an eagle two to get to six-under par. Earlier in the game he had another eagle on the long third and three birdies. His only bogey was on the short ninth, which was also the only hole he lost.
It marked a transformation in golfing fortunes for Dean, 21, who said: “I’ve been playing my B or C game all year, I haven’t hit it well and I’ve been relying on my putting and chipping. Today was the first time I’ve felt really confident on the golf course over everything.”
The turnaround was prompted by a tip from England coach Graham Walker. “I went to the range after a scrappy finish yesterday, but Graham said the best thing to do, instead of hitting balls, was to go home and play a few holes at my own club and get my confidence back.” He did exactly that, played 10 holes with his caddy and returned to Alwoodley today on top form.
Among the others to win by large margins were Rob Burlison (Enville), Ben Robinson (Vale) and Alfie Plant (Sundridge Park).
Low scoring was also a theme of today’s play. Dan Brown (Bedale), for example, had eight birdies in his game but was taken to the 16th before he won his match. “I was five-under through eight and only one-up,” he said afterwards.
Top seed Josh Hilleard (Farrington Park) was knocked out in a close match by Adam Chapman (Windermere) who emerged the one-up winner. “It was a really good match, full of great golf,” said Chapman. “I couldn’t believe it after nine holes when I was three-under and two down.
He got back to all square after 12 but lost the 15th. However he holed a 30-footer on 17 for birdie and parred 18 to win.
Last year’s runner-up, Scott Gregory (Corhampton), went safely through to the second round, beating Daniel List (Wentworth) 3/2. “My putter was quite warm,” said Gregory who holed from over 35ft on the 16th to close out the match. “I had a few dodgy pace putts but I didn’t miss a thing when holing out.
Lancashire’s Paul Kinnear (Formby) who played in The Open at St Andrews, won by 4/3 on his first outing on the course, having previously only walked it. “I hit a lot of good shots at the right time and made a lot of up and downs when I needed them and now I’ve played the course I know my way round quite well.”
Four matches went into extra time. David Wicks (Sedlescombe, pictured below), who set a course record 67 yesterday, was taken to the 20th, as was boy international Marco Penge (Golf at Goodwood), while Todd Clements (Braintree) and Mitchel Sarling (Rochford Hundred) won on the 19th. Penge’s match was a real seesaw: he was two down with six to play, then one up with two to play – before bogeying 17 and 18. But he birdied the 20th to take his place in the second round.
There are six Yorkshiremen through to the second round: Jamie Bower (Meltham), Dan Brown (Bedale), Joe Dean (Lindrick), Ben Firth (Moortown) Nick Poppleton (Wath) and Dan Wasteney (Bondhay).
ABOUT THE English Amateur
The English Amateur was played in its inaugural
year of 1925 at Hoylake when local golfer T
Froes Ellison captured the title. He successfully
defended the following year at Walton
Heath, a feat achieved by only six others: Frank
Pennink, Alan Thirlwell, Michael Bonallack, Harry
Ashby, Mark Foster, and Paul Casey. Sir Nick
Faldo is the most famous to have won the event
as the six-time major champion won the 1975
tournament at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
The tournament consists of two stroke
play rounds, after which the top 64 players
will advance to the match
play rounds, culminating in a 36-hole final
between two finalists.
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