Buckinghamshire’s John Gough won the English Men’s Amateur Championship after beating Tom Addy 1up in a tense 36-hole final held at Moortown Golf Club in Yorkshire.
Gough’s close win means his name is etched on the silver trophy his younger brother Conor won at Hankley Common in 2019.
After securing the win with a two-point par on the final hole, Gough said: ‘I think Conor was glad I could get it, but he was a little sour that he did not get it over me now ! It’s amazing to have it in our house for two years, and it’s not the same person who won it. ”
The 22-year-old from Stoke Park added: ‘We are very competitive – I suppose you can encourage that! It’s a great feeling to win and to bring the trophy back to the family is incredible. “
Gough quickly paid tribute to his fellow finalist before revealing the secret of his success. ‘It was stressful – what a wonderful player I was? After watching Tom’s matches for the past few days, I knew he was going to be a tough guy to beat. I had a game plan to split the final into three-hole games, and that’s not something I did before. I played it as small individual games, and it definitely helped my focus. ”
The final started at 08:30 in a heavy drizzle, but the cloud soon cleared and it was Gough who was the fastest out of the blocks. A birdie at the opening hole took him in the lead which he never gave up. Rugby-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth holes extended Gough, who had Callum Farr’s runner-up in the bag in 2019, extending his lead.
Addy won his first hole of the day on the seventh with a course mark, but immediately returned it to Gough with a bogey on the eighth. An equal score on the ninth was enough to win the hole for Addy, while Gough was in the back of the nine with a two-hole lead. That lead was extended to three after a 15-foot birdie on the 14th and extended again to four when he stood up and down for a par from the back of the 15th. Addy claimed one hole on the 16th with an equal back, but Gough, understandably, caught up with lunch with an extra spring in his step.
With the threat of rain now disappearing, the afternoon round began in clear and calm conditions. Gough, however, was on fire. He fumbled the first hole, and then an equal at the next was good enough to hit him five holes ahead. Addy pulls one back at the third, but immediately returns it with a three-putt at the fourth.
In turn, Gough was 4 and the odds were strong in his favor as Addy’s frustration over the number of wells burning the edge of the hole grew and grew. However, Addy won the 12th by a draw when an idiosyncratic Gough ride hampered him through trees for his second shot. The teenager then threw a long putt on the 13th for birdie and Gough knows he has a fight on his hands.
When Addy hit the 150-yard flag with his approach to the 15th and rolled another birdie home, it was a match. Gough now leads with only one hole, but does not let the tension affect his thinking.
By the time the duo reached the 17th, Addy was short of lives. Gough had two holes to win the game. He rolls the first one off the ledge five feet past the hole and misses, after Addy could not reach par, a slippery one down the slope.
It all came down to the 36th hole. But a zipper and a wedge to 15 feet gave Gough the luxury of two putts for the title not wasted.
Addy’s efforts to get Gough back were commendable, and it was no wonder that mum Rachel, from Middlesbrough and in person, and Dad Harvey, a Londoner watching Australia online, were proud of their son’s efforts.
Addy said: ‘I’m disappointed not to win, but I’m proud of how I played and went on to the end. Too many good wells just slipped past, but full credit to John who was a deserved winner. I will take a lot away this week – I have learned so much over the course of the championship that I can become a better player. ”