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The Brabazon Trophy

Amateur Golf: Rowe digs deep and overcomes tricky test
By Bill Meredith

MOORTOWN, at more than 7,000 yards, can be a long, hard slog at the best of times; after heavy rain its par of 72 can be difficult to beat. That is why Exeter University student Philip Rowe's amateur course-record 67 was deserving of praise on the first day of the English Amateur Strokeplay Championship for the Brabazon Trophy.

It gave Rowe, 20, a one-stroke lead on a day when the young Cornishman's putting and chipping were of the highest order. He started with birdies at the first three holes. Further birdies at the sixth and ninth saw him to the turn in 32.

 A bogey five at the 13th threatened to hold his progress, but Rowe hit back with a wonderful birdie three at the 14th and then parred his way home for a memorable five-under par round.

 It was a marvellous effort by a young man who has his sight firmly set on a Walker Cup place this year.

 Earlier, both Richard Finch of Hull, and the Finn, Mikko Ilonen, had recorded fine 68s. Ilonen looked set for a 67 until he dropped a stroke at the 417-yard 16th - his only hiccup apart from a bogey five at the third amid a string of six birdies.

 Finch, 21, the Midland and North of England Youth Champion who just squeezed through the pre-qualifying, had only one bogey, at the short eighth, and his round was built on three successive birdies from the 10th.

 There was absolutely no compassion from the unforgiving Moortown course; the short drivers were given no extra bounce along the fairway. Gary Wolstenholme, the Walker Cup player, admitted: "It wasn't my sort of course today." Even so, he finished with a one-under 71. Colin Edwards, his England colleague, did even better with a two-under 70.

 Grey Evans, from Ealing, finished with birdies at the 17th and 18th for an inward two-under-par 33 and a 69. His only dropped shot came at the 446-yard sixth. Also on 69 is Sebastien Branger, of France.

 Stephen Richards, of Chartridge Park, was disqualified for not handing in his card on time. "I hope it will not affect my chances of playing for England in the European Boys' Championship," said a downcast Richards.

Bill Meredith
Report and results coutesy of the Daily Telegraph


BRABAZON TROPHY (Moortown).- 1st rd leaders: 67-P Rowe (West Cornwall). 68-R Finch (Hull); M Ilonen (Finland). 69-S Branger (France); G Evans (Ealing). 70-M Thannhauser (Germany); C Williams (Creigiau); C Edwards (Bath); S Philipson (Prudhoe). 71-M Reynard (Moseley); G Wolstenholme (Kilworth Springs); J-M Pelz (Germany); M Side (Shirley Park); R Smithies (Manchester); T Whitehouse (Maxstoke Park).