BURNHAM ON SEA, Somerset, England (Aug. 14, 2011) -- Exeter’s Harrison Greenberry survived a late fight back from Lincolnshire’s Patrick Kelly to win the 85th Boys Amateur Championship at Burnham & Berrow.
Greenberry had been three up heading to the 30th hole of an engrossing 36-hole final but then had to watch as his English international opponent whittled away his lead before bouncing back with an up-and-down par for victory on the 37th hole.
The 17-year-old becomes the first Devon boy to win the title since Mark Grieve emerged victorious over the same Somerset course back in 1982 and he plans to have a double celebration with his elder sister Lucinda, who turned 20 today and was at Burnham & Berrow to watch the action unfold.
The final started in relatively calm weather but not long before the end the wind was gusting up to 25 miles-per-hour, making scoring extremely difficult. Kelly struggled on the greens and he will particularly rue the three three-putts he had on the first four holes in the afternoon, just when Greenberry seemed to be going through a momentary lapse.
Greenberry had been two up at lunch but Kelly won the 421-yard par-4 second with a par and then got back to all square for the first time since the 8th in the morning, when he secured another par on the treacherous 195-yard par-3 fifth, where Greenberry missed the green to the left.
The Devon County player looked at that stage to have a fight on his hands but Kelly lost three holes in-a-row to pars from the ninth before mounting a charge of his own with a birdie on the 401-yard 12th and a magnificent eagle on the 558-yard par-5 13th, where he hit a majestic low running long iron under the wind to five feet from the hole.
Greenberry went back to two up on the 14th where Kelly missed from 8-feet for a par but the 17-year-old from Boston West refused to go down without a fight and promptly won the 14th and 17th with pars before finally succumbing, when he missed the green on the first extra hole and then failed to get up-and-down.
“This is awesome, absolutely awesome,” said the new champion. “When I came here this week all I was trying to do was make the cut and then try to get through a couple of rounds but now I have won what’s probably the biggest boys’ event in the world.
“To be honest, I think it will be a while before it sinks in,” he added.“Tonight we’ll have a big party, not just for me but also for my sister. It will be a double celebration and we might not go to bed all night.”
Kelly, who played for the victorious English Boys team at last week’s Boys Home Internationals, was distraught after coming up just short.
“It was just one of those days when I couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” he said. “I gave myself plenty of chances but the putts wouldn’t drop.”
Greenberry succeeds Adrian Otaegui as the Boys Amateur champion, the Spaniard having defeated Germany’s Maximilian Rottluff by 4&3 in last year’s final at Kilmarnock Barassie. He also joins an elite group of former champions that includes Michael Bonallack, Mark Mouland, Ronan Rafferty, Jose-Maria Olazabal, David Howell, Sergio Garcia and Tom Lewis.
The 2012 Boys Amateur Championship will take place at Notts and Coxmoor golf clubs on the 14-19 August.
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