Photo courtesy of Leaderboard
edged out Tom Addy
in a nerve-shredding final of the English Men’s Amateur Championship and admitted he was delighted to finally get even with brother Conor.
The 22-year-old from Stoke Park who played collegiately at UNC Charlotte, birdied the first hole of the 36-hole final at Moortown Golf Club and was never behind in the head-to-head clash with Addy.
At lunch, Gough was 3up and after two holes of the afternoon round had stretched his lead to five holes.
However, 17-year-old Addy’s never-say-die spirit and some inspired play on the back nine of the afternoon round meant it took Gough until the final hole to see off his rival.
Gough’s 1up victory means he can now etch his name on the silver trophy won by his younger brother two years ago at Hankley Common.
For the past 24 months, Conor has enjoyed the game of one-upmanship, but for now the bragging rights lie with John.
After clinching the victory with a two-putt par on the final hole, Gough said: “I think Conor was happy for me to get it, but he was a bit sour that he hasn’t got this over me now!
“It’s unbelievable to have it in our house for two years and it’s not the same person that’s won it.
“I don’t know how many times that’s been done before.
“We’re very competitive – I suppose you could call that spurring each other on!
“It’s a great feeling to win – I’m golfed out, but to have the trophy is great fun.
“It was stressful – what a great player I was up against. I knew it was never done having looked at Tom’s games the last few days and he’s a good golfer.
“If it wasn’t down the game plan and sticking to it I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
“I split it into three-hole matches and that’s not something I’ve done before. I played it as little individual games.”
The men’s final got underway at 8.30 am in a heavy drizzle, but the cloud soon brightened and it was Gough who was quickest out the blocks.
A birdie at the opening hole took him into the lead which he never surrendered.
Back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth holes saw Gough – who had 2019 runner up and former England player Callum Farr on the bag – extend his lead.
Addy – who lives in Western Australia, but whose parents are both English – won his first hole of the day at the seventh with a par, but immediately handed it back to Gough with a bogey at the eighth.
A par at the ninth was enough to win the hole for Addy as Gough headed into the back nine with a two-hole advantage.
That lead was stretched to three after a 15-foot birdie putt on the 14th and extended again to four when he got up and down from the back of the 15th for a par.
Addy could only make bogey having been stymied under the lip of a greenside bunker in two and leaving his first effort in the sand.
Addy claimed one hole back with a par at the 16th and should have got it back to two down at the 17th only for a three-footer to lip out and give Gough an unlikely half.
The 18th hole was halved in four with Gough, understandably, heading in for lunch with an extra spring in his step.
With the threat of rain now gone, the afternoon round started in bright and calm conditions.
Gough, though, was on fire. He birdied the first hole and then a par at the next was good enough to take him five holes clear.
Addy pulled one back at the third, but immediately handed it back with a three-putt at the fourth.
At the turn, Gough was 4 up and the odds were heavily stacked in his favor as Addy’s frustration at the number of putts burning the edge of the hole grew and grew.
Addy, though, did win the 11th with a par when a wayward Gough drive left him impeded by trees for his second shot.
The teenager then drained a long putt on the 12th for birdie and Gough knew he had a fight on his hands.
When Addy struck the flag from 150 yards with his approach to the 14th and rolled home another birdie it was game on.
Gough was now just 1 up, but didn’t let the tension affect his thinking.
By the time the duo reached the 17th, Addy was running short of lives.
Twice Gough had putts to win the match. He rolled the first one from the fringe five feet past the hole and then – after Addy had failed to make par – missed a slippery one back down the slope.
He added: “I’m known for hitting them too firm – I was told dead weight and that’s not my forte. It is what it is and I managed to get it done at the last hole.”
It all came down to the 36th hole. But a booming drive and a wedge to 15 feet allowed Gough the luxury of two putts for the title which were not squandered.
Addy’s efforts in pegging back Gough were worthy of praise and it was no wonder mum Rachel, from Middlesbrough, and dad Harvey, a Londoner watching online from Australia, were proud of their son’s efforts.
Addy said: “I’m disappointed not to win, but I’m proud of how I played and kept going right to the end.
“Too many good putts just slid by, but full credit to John who was a deserved winner.
“I will take a lot away from this week – I’ve learned so much over the course of the championship that can make me a better player.”
It's the second win in less than two months for Gough, who won the Palmetto Amateur in Aiken, SC in early July.
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.
View Complete Tournament Information