Wiltshire's Ben Stow claimed the biggest prize of his young career at Seaton Carew this afternoon when he held his nerve on the 18th green to edge a dramatic final day.
Stow, a student in the United States, had to be at his best to earn the title and was by being one of three golfers to equal Yorkshireman Ian Garbutt’s 24-year-old course record by hitting a seven-under 66 around the Brabazon course.
The score included a solid eight-foot putt in front of the clubhouse which took him one shot clear of his closest rivals, Ashley Chesters and Ryan Evans, to clinch the title.
Chesters had already returned a similar impressive 66 to climb to 13-under while Evans teed off at the last knowing he needed a birdie to take the match to a play-off.
But Evans, an England team-mate, could not muster up a three and Stow punched the air in delight at winning the Brabazon Trophy which Peter Baker and Roger Roper shared at Seaton Carew in 1985.
It was an enthralling day’s golf on the North Sea links course, where Stow had held a two-shot lead for a considerable amount of time before Chesters and Evans started to pile on the pressure.
There was no stopping Chesters and had he not bogeyed the 17th – after failing to save par when he dropped in to the greenside bunker – then he would have broken the course record and shared the lead with Rushmore Golf Club’s Stow.
It had looked as if the pressure had got to Stow at 16 when he bogeyed, having hit the gorse. However, he responded in fantastic fashion by finishing birdie-birdie to get his hands on the gold.
“It’s been a fantastic week and I have thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Stow, in his winner’s spech in the clubhouse. “Seaton Carew will always have a special place in my heart now. I’m just so pleased to have won this.”
There was also a 66 from West Waterford’s Gary Hurley, meaning the course record was equalled three times today just 48 hours after Evans had done just that in the second round.
Prudhoe’s Thomas Rowland and Whickham’s James Simpson finished with 74s to end on four-over for the tournament. Boldon’s Gavin Nesbit had a disappointing last round and hit a 79 to leave him an eight over tally.
* For more reaction see Monday's The Northern Echo.