HUGHES WINS SENIORS AMATEUR AT SUNNINGDALE
12 August 2017
Bryan Hughes won the Seniors Amateur Championship at Sunningdale today to become the first Englishman since Roy Smethurst in 2003 to claim the title.
Hughes, from Hesketh in Lancashire, ended a sequence of seven consecutive wins by Americans in the championship after beating Doug Hanzel and Gene Elliot of the United States and South African Steven Williams by two shots.
The 55-year-old was on the reserve list only one week ago, but after receiving a late entry into the championship he completed the final round with a three-under-par 67 to lift the trophy on a four-over-par total of 214.
His round did not start too encouragingly, after he dropped a shot at the tricky par-four 2nd, but a 30ft birdie at the 5th was followed by two further birdies at the 12th and 15th. A birdie putt from six feet for a four at the par-five 18th helped to set a target that no one managed to match.
For most of the final round American Matthew Sughrue, the runner-up on his debut at Royal County Down two years ago, was in control and led the championship right up until the final three holes.
He fell back into a share of top spot after a bogey at the 16th, and then had a disastrous triple-bogey seven at the 17th, where he found trouble in the rough and then three-putted. He finished with a five-over-par 75 and in a tie for fifth place on seven-over par overall.
Steve Groom, the overnight leader, had two triple-bogeys in the first six holes. A bunker at the short fourth and heather at the 6th ended his title challenge. He shot a 12-over-par 85.
Chip Lutz, the defending champion and three-time winner, closed with a three-over 73 to finish and was tied with the 2014 champion Brady Exber in joint seventh.
It really was a fairy-tale for Hughes, whose wife, Elizabeth, caddied through the championship that was affected by torrential rain on the opening day. Not only did he get into the championship as third reserve, he posted the lowest score of the final round to claim the title and he will look to defend the trophy at Royal Porthcawl next year.
Hughes also earns an exemption for the 2018 Senior Open being staged at the Old Course, St Andrews from 26-29 July.