WALTON HEATH TROPHY: DAY ONE REPORT
Lincolnshire’s Hugo Kedzlie made the most of his late inclusion into the field for the Walton heath Trophy on Tuesday by firing a six under par 66 over the New Course to snatch a narrow first round lead before play was suspended due to lightening in the area.
The 20-year-old economics student at the University of Delaware in the USA was on the reserve list and only learned of his place in the 120-strong line-up for the event on Friday. After making hurried arrangements to travel to Surrey and find accommodation, Kedzlie didn’t waste any time in making his presence felt in the contest.
Despite the jolt of a 5am alarm call, Kedzlie was on the tee at 7.26 and soon among the birdies as he shot his lowest round of the season to lead by one shot from Staffordshire’s Matthew Downes, Matt Gauntlett from West Herts and Cheshire’s Rhys Nevin with English Walker Cup international Jack Dyer among a group on 69.
The host club also has a contender in 22-year-old Harvey Byers, who finished late due to electrical activity in the area but signed for a four under par 68 to put himself right in contention.
Kedzlie admitted to a sense of surprise after his seven-birdie card, which was slightly tarnished by a dropped shot at the last where, he admitted, he “started to think about my score. Not a good idea!”
He said: “I had no expectations about some average golf this year, so I tried to keep it simple and only think about the next shot. I was five under for the stretch between the seventh and 13th, which set me up for a good score.
“I had a ten-footer to go eight under on the 17th and missed, which possibly let me to think about my round and resulted into a ‘pull’ into the heather at the last. Overall, though, I can’t complain.”
Downes, from Ingestre Park, reached the turn in 35 but strung together a fine run of holes from the 13th, which he eagled and followed that up with birdies at the 14th, 15th and 17th in an inwards 32.
Watford’s based Gauntlett, like Kedzlie, a product of the US Collegiate system – in his case at Eastern Florida State College – returned a flawless card with five birdies and no bogeys while Nevin birdied four of the last six holes for his 67.
Dyer, from Boyce Hill in Essex, felt he was due a more profitable return than his 69, having racked up a total of eight birdies. He was undone by a double bogey at the ninth and bogeys at the 11th and 15th but finished in a blaze of glory with three straight birdies to close out his round.
The host club enjoyed a five-strong representation, with Luke Stock shooting 74, Calum Malcolm 75, Mark Justice 76 and Darren Monaghan 81.