By Gordon Simpson
Channel Islander Jason Stokes chose the perfect moment to bag the first albatross of his fledglinggolfing career today as he climbed into contention for the Walton Heath Trophy over the sun-drenched Old Course today.
The 20-year-old from La Moye in Jersey could not quite believe the stroke of luck – or genius,depending on the viewpoint – which earned him a second round of 70 and a place among theleading contenders to lift the Michael Lunt Salver.
Stokes, whose halfway total of 142 left him six shots adrift of tournament leader Jacob Davies fromWales, was left stunned by two magical holes on the front nine.
At the 190 yard seventh, he knocked a nine iron to 40 feet and sank the putt for a birdie two.However, he surpassed every expectation on the following hole, the 558 yard eighth, where his drivewas followed by a two iron straight into the hole.
Quite simply, Stokes managed to reduce almost half a mile of tough golfing terrain to four shots –2,2 – and four under par.
“I still quite believe it,” smiled Stokes, the Channel Islands champion. “The first two was fortunatewhen I holed the putt from 40 feet, but I didn’t even know much about the albatross until someonein the group ahead indicated it had gone in. Apparently, it was travelling when it hit the pin, but I’lltake that break.”
Meanwhile Davies, from Rhuddlan in North Wales, tagged a 69 onto his opening 67 for an eightunder par total of 136. Despite a bogey at the first, Davies managed to keep a clean card thereafterand admitted that he felt satisfied with a “solid round of golf.”
The 20-year-old added: “I played in the Walton Heath Trophy two years ago and did reasonablywell, but I mixed up the dates last July and booked a holiday when this event was taking place. I’mglad to be back here and right in contention this time.”
Wakefield’s Dan Bradbury added a 69 to his opening 68 on the New to sit right behind Davies on137, seven under par. With mum, Sandra, pulling his trolley in the blazing sunshine, Bradbury fourputted the 13 th then decided to take action, eagling the 14th and 16th to put a shiny complexion on hissecond round.
Lying third going into the final 36 holes over the New and Old courses is Daniel O’Loughlin on 138,six under par. The Ruddington Grange player looked set for pole position with five birdies in six holesfrom the turn, but bogeyed the 17th and 18th for a 69.
Defending champion Tom Thurloway from Chartham Park in Sussex, struggled to follow up his strongstart on Tuesday, taking ten shots more than his opening 68 for a total of 146.
ABOUT THE Walton Heath Trophy
The Walton Heath Trophy each year attracts a top-
field of amateur
golfers from across the world. The 72 hole
stroke play event
takes place over both the Old and New
at the famed Walton Heath Golf Club in
and consists of four
rounds of golf with a cut after 36 holes.
The tournament changed its name from South of
England Open Amateur to the current name in
November of 2017.
View Complete Tournament Information