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Bailey bounces back

LINDRICK’S Bailey Gill defied a bout of food poisoning to build on his impressive start to the season by finishing runner-up in the Portuguese Amateur Championship, at the Montado Golf Resort.

After falling sick on arrival in Lisbon it looked as though Gill would have to withdraw from the tournament as he was unable to take part in any of the practice rounds.

Despite his lack of preparation, he managed to complete the first round in a one-under-par score of 71.

Starting at the 10th, he had four birdies, five bogeys and an eagle at the 477-yard par-5 17th.

With his strength returning, Gill carded a five-under 67 on day two. He had three birdies in an outward two-under-par 34, dropped a shot at 13, but then supplemented birdies at 14 and 15 with an eagle at 17 for the second day in a row.

Day three saw Gill open with consecutive birdies on the way to shooting 68. He turned in 34 despite dropping a shot at the ninth, the first of three strokes given back to par in the space of four holes. However, he more than made amends by eagling the 503-yard 15th and adding birdies at 16 and 17.

Last year he finished seventh in the event and, standing in second place with a round to go and just one shot off the lead, the title itself was a real possibility.

In the final round he was out in 34 for the third day in succession with an almost identical front nine to the third round, the only difference being his third birdie came at hole six rather than seven.

After birdieing holes 10 and 12 he had pulled up into a share of the lead, but a shot on the 14th that stopped just inches out of bound led to Bailey taking a double bogey and with two few holes left to make up the gap on eventual winner, Portuguese Vitor Londot Lopes, who shot 68 68 69 68 to triumph by three.

But Gill, a former Welsh Open Youth champion and runaway winner of the prestigious Bernard Darwin Salver last year, birdied the final hole to share runner-up spot with Dane Sebastien Friedrichsen (69 71 66 70).

In doing so he moved up 106 places in the World Amateur rankings and now occupies 158th place.

Fulford’s Charlie Thornton was challenging for a top-10 place after 54 holes, but fell away with a closing 74 to finish 32nd on level par. Malton & Norton’s David Hague fared better in the last round with a 70 for a five-over- par total and a tie for 53rd place, but he maintained his joint 50 position in the world rankings. If he can hold onto or improve that position by the end of May, he will secure a spot at the US Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach in June.

In January, Gill helped England bounce back from disappointment to beat Finland 6.5-2.5 and secure the bronze medal position at the first Costa Ballena Octagonal Match, in Spain. Gill won all four of his singles games and he teamed up with fellow Tyke Nick Poppleton (Wath) to lose just one foursomes games. Fellow England debutant Poppleton was also unbeaten in the singles games with a win and a half.

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