Brabazon Trophy 2021
Bairstow fends off Chegwidden charge to claim victory
Congratulations to Sam Bairstow, winner of the 2021 Brabazon Trophy.
The Yorkshireman from Hallowes Golf Club, Sheffield played stunning golf all week at Ganton Golf Club to deservedly win the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship with a total of -11 (273). This was achieved thanks to an opening round of 66 and three consecutive scores of 69.
Bairstow had to fight off a late charge from Zach Chegwidden to win by two shots. Chegwidden’s seven under par final round of 64 thrilled the galleries and teed up an exciting finish to four days of tough competition.
Bairstow started the final round – delayed by half an hour due to 54mm of rain falling overnight – with a five-shot lead over Kent’s Josh Bristow.
As players hit the back-nine – with Chegwidden two groups ahead of Bairstow – the lead started to narrow. Birdies at 12, 13 and 14 put the Orsett golfer firmly in the mix just two shots behind Bairstow.
The final stretch of holes at Ganton are renowned as some of the toughest in the country – even without the pressure of one of golf’s most prestigious amateur titles on the line.
Chegwidden and Bairstow both parred the last four holes which gave Bairstow a two-shot winning margin – but it was closer than the bare facts suggest. On 16, Chegwidden’s birdie putt from 40-feet stopped agonisingly on the edge of the cup. And on 17, Bairstow had to hole a slippery ten-foot put down the slope for par to give him the luxury of playing 18 without too many nerves.
After nailing the win – popularly received by a large number of fellow players who waited around to see Bairstow win the title – the champion said: “If you’d have given me two under par for the round before it started, I’d have thought I’d win by five or six.
Referring to the clutch par putt he holed on the penultimate hole, Bairstow said: “I thought if I holed it would give me a bigger cushion going down the last. I didn’t want to be going down there having to make par.
“When I saw it turn in and drop, it wasn’t done, but it felt pretty near.”
Bairstow admitted the win carried added significance. “It’s very special – especially in Yorkshire. I had a lot of people out there supporting me which was nice.
The win comes near the end of an amazing summer for Bairstow who qualified for The Open at Royal St George’s.
He added: “I wasn’t as nervous today as I was on the first tee at The Open but I still definitely felt it down the last few.
“That (playing The Open) helped me and I hit the shots when I needed to.”
And on being so well received as a champion by his peers, Bairstow said: “Out here at the top of the amateur game in the UK everyone gets on.
“It’s a good environment to play in. Everyone can win and it’s good to play against people who you can also beat.”
The Runner Up
There was some consolation for Chegwidden – whose final round of 64 featured seven birdies and no bogeys – when he won the Scrutton Jug for the best combined scores at the Brabazon and the Berkshire Trophy, which he won in June.
Chegwidden (pictured above) said: “It was pretty mad, really.
“It got to a point on 13 when I holed a nice ten-footer to get to six I thought I might have a chance and I birdied the next too.
“I needed some more birdies but finished with four straight pars – I left my putt on 16 a hair short.
“I’m 100% proud of efforts this week. If someone has said I’d be tied fourth going into the last round of the Brabazon and then shot 64 I’d have taken it.
“Well done to Sam – he’s played quality golf all week. He showed his class.”
The George Henriques Salver – presented to the leading GB&I player aged under 20 – was shared by England boys’ squad members Josh Hill and Frank Kennedy on a score of +1.
The winner of that award the last time the Brabazon was staged at Ganton in 2006 was Rory McIlroy.
Tremendous credit goes to the Simon Olver, Ganton’s Course Manager, and his team for the superb playing conditions, which received so many compliments. Also, to the many Ganton Members who volunteered before and throughout the Championship. Sheila and Julian Cook (pictured above) enjoyed carrying the scoreboard for the final group.
Pictured below at the trophy presentation are (from Left) Graham Yates, President of England Golf; Denise Hutchinson, Lady Captain of Ganton Golf Club; Sam Bairstow, Brabazon Champion 2021; David Bentley, Captain of Ganton Golf Club.
For the final scores, please click on the link below: