All-English final at 85th Boys Amateur Championship
Exeter’s Harrison Greenberry will be hoping that history repeats itself when he tees up against Lincolnshire’s Patrick Kelly in the final of the 85th Boys Amateur Championship at Burnham & Berrow tomorrow.
A victory would mean that 17-year-old Greenberry would emulate fellow Devonian, Mark Grieve, who won the title the last time the Boys Amateur Championship was played at this fine Somerset links in 1982. It would also provide a memorable present for Greenberry’s elder sister, Lucinda, who celebrates her 20th birthday tomorrow and is planning to come to watch the action unfold.
The diminutive Greenberry can look forward to a lot of support from friends and family members after a fine day’s golf in which he defeated Oliver Carr by 4&2 in the quarter-finals and then proved just too strong for Germany’s Jeremy Paul in the afternoon.
The German was the first to make a move when he went one up with a birdie three on the 421-yard par-4 second but he was hauled back to level when he dropped a shot at the par-3 fifth and then quickly fell two behind when he bogeyed the sixth and his English opponent birdied the 528-yard par-5 eighth.
Greenberry has played controlled golf for much of the week and he proceeded to card five pars over the next six holes before conceding the 16th after missing the green in two. That cut his lead to two but he went on to win it in dramatic fashion at the 179-yard par-3 17th where he followed his opponent into the hole for a decisive birdie two.
“I can’t quite believe this is happening,” said the Devon County player as he accepted the applause of the large gallery at the end of his match. “When I came here at the start of the week my goal was to make the cut but now I have got a lot bigger things on my mind.
“It’s incredible to think I have made it to the final. I just hope I can play as well as I did today.”
Greenberry will have an exceedingly difficult match against English Boy international, Kelly, who had to play 23 holes in the morning before beating Ireland’s John-Ross Galbraith but displayed no hint of fatigue in the afternoon as he ended the challenge of the Belgian men’s match play champion, Thomas Detry, on the 15th green.
Kelly came into the Championship as a member of the victorious England side at last week’s Boy’s Home Internationals at Royal St David’s and he has used that momentum to good effect with a series of sterling performances. He produced a morale-boosting victory over his friend and fellow Lincoln man, Nathan Kimsey, in the third round and then overhauled Bigbury’s Sam Edwards before overcoming Galbraith and winning a semi-final place against the 18-year-old Belgian.
In the semi-final against Detry, Kelly, who is a member of Boston West, took an early lead when he birdied the 511-yard par-5 fourth. He lost the next to a birdie three but then regained the initiative with another birdie on the par-5 eighth before dropping back to all-square again with a four at the 155-yard par-3 ninth.
At that stage, there was nothing in the match, but Kelly edged ahead with a par on the 12th and then stamped his authority on the game by holing from 20-yards for an eagle on the 558-yard par-5 13th. On the next hole he went three ahead when his opponent failed to make par and he sealed his win with a regulation par for on the 469-yard par-4 15th hole.
“It has been a long day, but a very good one,” said Kelly. “After this morning, I wanted to play steady golf and that’s what I did.
“There wasn’t much in it to start with, but I played some good golf coming home and now I can relax and look forward to tomorrow.”
Kelly and Greenberry will be bidding to join an illustrious list of former Boys Amateur Champions, including Jimmy Bruen, Michael Bonallack, Peter Townsend, Ronan Rafferty, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia, Tom Lewis and Spaniard, Adrian Otaegui, who defeated Germany’s Maximilian Rottluff in last year’s final at Kilmarnock Barassie.
The match between Kelly and Greenberry will be the second all-English final in three years, with Lewis having beaten friend and rival, Eddie Pepperell, at Royal St George’s in 2009.