Ben's a real knockout
Rotherham teenager Ben Schmidt continues to carry all before him this year and his latest success came in the Henry Cooper Junior Masters.
Schmidt opened with a 66 at Nizels Golf Club in Essex and followed up with rounds of 71, 71 and 70 for a ten under par total of 278 which handed him a five shot win over nearest rival Max Hopkins, from Bishop Stortford.
He later admitted that his best golf of the week had come in the rounds where he shot in the 70’s, but on day one the putts dropped for him when he played “no better than solid”.
Schmidt didn’t arrive back at his Tankersley home from Essex until well past midnight and a few hours later was on the tee at Alwoodley where he also won the Open Championship Regional Qualifying with a three under par round of 69.
Returning to the course where he became the youngest ever winner of the Brabazon Trophy in May, 16-year-old Schmidt, birdied the short fourteenth to get to four under par. But an uncharacteristic leaked drive which went out of bounds on the next meant he had to birdie the hole with his second ball to stay ahead of the pack, and he closed with three easy pars.
Hot on the heels of his win in the Henry Cooper was a call from England Golf to represent his country in the European Boys’ Team Championship at Golf de Chantilly on the outskirts of Paris later this month (July 9-13).
And this week he will bid to make it through to the Open Championship proper when he lines up at for the Final Qualifying event on July 2nd at either Hollinwell (Notts) Golf Club or St Annes Old Links.
Ten spots were available at Alwoodley and Schmidt will be joined by Ross Earnshaw (Sandburn Hall), who finished a shot behind Schmidt, and amateurs Ben Hutchinson (Howley Hall) and Wakefield’s Dan Bradbury.
Hutchinson bogeyed the second and then missed a sting of makeable birdie putts on the front nine but held it together to finish with a one under par 70 a score matched by Bradbury who is back in the UK after finishing the second year of a golf scholarship at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.
They went forward with another amateur Josh Morton (Huddersfield), Rockliffe Hall’s Andrew Wilson, Lindrick’s Luke Jackson and Leeds based Liam O’ Neil who all carded level par rounds of 71. A total of just 12 spots are available across the four venues, the others being Prince’s and Fairmont St Andrews.