English Mid-Amateur leaders Gareth Sheridan (L) and Lewis Watcham (R)
(England Golf Photo)
BROKENHURST, England (July 1, 2016) -- There’s a two-way tie at the top in the Logan Trophy after Hertfordshire’s Lewis Watcham and Surrey’s Gareth Sheridan scored three-under 67 in the first round at Brokenhurst Manor in Hampshire.
Close behind is the host club’s Martin Young, a former winner of the English open mid-amateur championship who would love to regain the title on home ground. He’s two shots back on one-under, tied with leading Welsh player, Ben Westgate, and another local player, Richard Corscadden of North Hants.
“It’s a weird pressure, but home advantage has to be good,” said Young. “I’m in the red figures and there aren’t many of us.”
Watcham, from Harpenden Common (pictured top), was first to post 67 on a day when the wind gradually grew in strength.
He was helped by a ‘fantastic’ eagle three on the second, where he holed an eight-footer. Solid putting was a feature of Watcham’s round and he remarked: “I didn’t do anything awesome but I didn’t really miss anything.
“The greens are very nice, considering they’ve been underwater recently,” he added, referring to the effects of heavy rain and a river which burst its banks. “They’ve done brilliantly.”
Watcham is a seasoned campaigner on the mid-amateur circuit and the Logan Trophy is one of his big goals, but he arrived at Brokenhurst feeling out of form. “This is probably my first really good round of the year and I’m chuffed with it,” he said.
Sheridan (Camberley Heath), pictured left, has recently turned 35 – the qualifying age for the championship - and has lost no time in making a mid-amateur impact, having been runner-up in Wales.
He made his score despite never having seen the course, after work commitments prevented him from having a practice round. He quickly got the measure of the course, collecting four birdies in his round and dropping just one shot with a ‘silly bogey’.
“This isn’t a course you can overpower, there were a few holes where you needed to give it a bash because the wind was up, but on the rest you had to be very patient,” he said.
“There was no wind for the first five holes and, without being big-headed, I could have been four-under for those because I missed a couple of short ones.
“On the back nine I told myself I’d be more than happy to shoot level par but I managed to nick a couple coming in on the short par fours.”
The trio on one-under all made the most of the back nine. Corscadden was four over after 10, but had a remarkable change of fortune with five birdies over the remaining holes for 69. Westgate (Trevose) played very steadily but was two over after 14, thanks to a couple of early bogeys – and then birdied three of the last four holes.
Young had three birdies on his back nine, together with the frustration of three-putting the long 16th for par and dropping a shot on 17 where his tee shot sailed right. However, he remarked: “I’m in with a shout, I’m not out of it.”
After tomorrow’s second round the field will be cut to the leading 45 players and ties who will qualify for the final round on Sunday.
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