Harry Ellis battled back from four holes down with five to play to win the 36-hole final of The 122nd Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s on Saturday.
The 21-year-old from Meon Valley followed in the footsteps of his former Hampshire teammate, 2016 Amateur champion Scott Gregory, to lift the famous trophy after defeating Australia’s Dylan Perry in a dramatic match that went to the 38th hole.
Ellis, who became the youngest player to win the English Amateur Championship aged just 16 in 2012, secured a place in The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale, next year’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills and, by tradition, an invitation to the Masters Tournament in 2018.
The match was extremely close for most of the day and the first 18 holes were nip and tuck with neither player able to build more than a one hole lead. The match was all square going into the afternoon and although Ellis won the 20th hole with a birdie three it was the Australian who seized the initiative.
Perry, who recently won the Riversdale Cup in his homeland, won four consecutive holes from the 22nd to go 3-up, before winning the 27th with a par to give him a commanding four hole lead with nine to play.
Perry and Ellis continued to trade holes but the Australian maintained his four hole lead as the pair approached the 32nd hole. With only five holes to play Ellis’ second shot came within inches of going out of bounds. Perry, however, found trouble in a bunker and Ellis seized his opportunity to hole a putt for par and win the hole.
That gave Ellis a lift and, after halving the next, he kept his nerve steady to win the next two holes with pars. On the 36th green, Perry missed a ten foot par putt to claim victory and the match went to extra holes.
Stepping up to the 1st tee at Royal St George’s for the third time today both players played cautiously and halved the hole in par but the match was brought to a dramatic conclusion on the next.
At the par-4 38th hole, Ellis was through the green in two and chipped to four feet while Perry, after hitting his second shot into a deep swail from which he struggled to escape, was on the green in four. When he missed his 8ft putt for bogey, Ellis had two putts for the championship but required only one to seal a memorable comeback victory.
The 123rd Amateur Championship will be played at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links from 18 to 23 June, 2018.