Editors Note: Story by Golfweek's Alistair Tait
LYTHAM SAINT ANNES, UK (May 1, 2016) - Alfie Plant took a step closer to his dream of playing in this year’s World Amateur Team Championships with an impressive victory in the Lytham Trophy.
Plant handled the tough conditions the Open Championship layout presented better than anyone else. He fought his way through strong winds and persistent rain to post scores of 67, 73, 74 and 70 for a 4-over-par 284 to win by seven shots.
Bradley Moore, Scotland’s Jamie Savage and Ugo Coussaud of France finished joint second on 11-over.
Plant posted three seconds and a third last year, including runner-up in the English Amateur Championship. Those experiences helped him conquer a strong field over one of the world’s hardest courses.
“I had a few seconds last year which builds your experience up, and I took all that in today,” Plant said.
“My long irons were great all week. I was really good at hitting it pin high, which is always helpful around here.”
Plant’s opening 3-under-67, 10 strokes better than the average first-round score, set him up for the next three rounds.
“I’ve been working to try to lead from the front because I’ve always struggled the first two rounds and had to drag myself back into tournaments. All the work I’ve been putting in is finally working.”
Despite his opening round, Plant began the final round trailing fellow England teammate Moore by two shots. The turning point came at the par-5, 11th hole.
Plant birdied the hole while Moore took a double bogey after blocking his tee shot into dense undergrowth to the right of the fairway. Subsequent bogeys followed at the next four holes to give Plant breathing space down the stretch. Moore’s collapse was complete when he added a bogey at 17 and double bogeyed the 18th to limp home in 44 strokes for a 79.
Moore’s score was pretty close to the average over the four rounds. The Royal Lytham scorecard reads par 70 but bears no resemblance to reality. Average scores for the four rounds were 77, 76, 77 and 76. Strong third round winds made scoring particularly tough. “It was brutal,” Plant said. “It was like a war out there.”
There were 63 scores of 80 or worse over the four rounds. The cut fell at 9-over-par. Plant’s opening 67 was one of only seven sub-par scores, with a 4-under 66 from England’s James Walker the lowest score of the week. In other words, the golf course was the winner in yet another Lytham Trophy.
Moore and Plant will contend for spaces in England’s three-man team to travel to Mexico for the World Amateur Team Championships September 21-24. Plant’s impressive showing over the testing Royal Lytham links puts him in pole position to take one of the spots.