OUTSTANDING GOLF BY the 15-year old Dane, Rasmus Hojgaard, saw him win the England under 16s boys’ stroke play championship played over the Royal Ashdown Old Course by six shots to claim the McGregor Trophy.
A birdie on 18 completed his round after 72 holes of fiercely contested golf with the standard of play amongst the leading contenders being quite exceptional. Hojgaard’s worst round was the 73 he carded on the first day of the competition. He followed this with ever improving scores of 71, 70 and 67 to overhaul the halfway leader, Harry Goddard from Hanbury Manor Golf Club in Hertfordshire to finish seven under par.
Having won the Danish amateur title two weeks before Hojgaard also took the Jean Case memorial salver for the best gross score by a player in the under 15 section. ‘It has been an incredible three weeks,’ he said afterwards.
His final round saw the best golf played all week with the Dane dropping only one shot after three-putting the 15th. By then he had moved ahead with three successive birdies at four, five and six which he followed up with three more on the back nine including two over the final three holes.
Michael Gilbert of Chelmsford GC, fired two rounds of 70 over the final 36 holes to secure the runner-up position to go with the Sir Henry Cooper junior masters tournament he won at Woburn in June with a score of eight under par. An exciting young Italian prospect from the Parco di Roma club, Dylan de Prosperis, finished third at two over par although that score belies some of the superb golf he played.
Having come unstuck after a level par opening round with a 76 in round two the young Italian played 32 holes in seven under par, often singing as he strode purposefully down the fairway. He tired over the closing holes for a final round of 74, having shot a 68 in the morning.
Ashdown members will be interested in the statistics the contest produced with the par three 11th proving the most difficult hole over the four rounds producing only six birdies from the 154 competitors. The 17th was the next most difficult with the shortest hole on the course, the sixth, proving third toughest averaging 3.44 with just 36 birdies. The easiest was the par five fifth with an average of 4.78 producing eight eagles and 160 birdies.
Apart from the quality of the golf another thing that impressed everyone was the standard of sportsmanship and the players’ behaviour on and off the course. Congratulations to all of the players, thanks to all ball-spotters and scorers, plus everyone, particularly the Ashdown staff in the clubhouse, who worked so tirelessly over four days.