Hogarth’s final flourish seals U16 title

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PRIZE GUY:  Kieran Hogarth receives the trophy from Lancashire president Michael Lay

KIERAN Hogarth conjured up a dramatic  ending  on his way to being crowned Lancashire U16 champion.

The Royal Lytham & St Annes player produced a birdie-birdie finish as he edge ahead of the field over 18 holes at Dean Wood Golf Club.

And it capped a fantastic fightback from the 15-year-old who had slumped to three-over-par after the first five holes.

Birdies at holes six, seven and nine got him back to level by the turn, before dropped shots at 12, 14 and 16 threatened to derail his hopes.

But Kieran’s final flourish to sign for a 72 turned the tables in dramatic fashion to ease out Southport and Ainsdale’s Matthew Jackman by a shot.

“I just tried to stay calm after the first few holes,” said Kieran. “I had played a practice round there, so I knew there would be opportunities to get shots back, particularly on the par fives.

“Even on the back nine, I felt I was still in with a chance. I knew that one over had won the championship in the past, so just wanted to get back to that mark.

“As a 15-year-old this is the big championship for my age group, so I definitely wanted to win it and now I have the chance to defend the title, too.”

Kieran, who lives in Kirkham, Is a member of the Lancashire Golf Union’s county squad under the guidance of Southport and Ainsdale pro and former European Tour player Jim Payne, having made his debut last year against Yorkshire – the county he has also played against this summer.

A pupil at Saint Bede’s Catholic High School in Lytham, Kieran first started playing golf at Myerscough College at the age of six after attending an open day. He continued with weekly lessons there until the age of 11.

“I received great coaching from the team there under John Barclay, who continues to be my coach, based at Lancaster Golf Performance Centre at Lancaster Golf Club,” added Kieran, who moved to Royal Lytham in 2014 after playing in a junior match for Myerscough at the Open venue.

Starting out with a handicap of 21, he played in competitions and inter-club events, with the coaching team under Ben Squires – and the support of junior organisers Alison Maguire and Dai Mistry – helping cut his handicap by more than half.

Kieran continued his development as part of the Lancashire County Academy programme while joining a second club – Fairhaven – to broaden his golfing experience.

Five handicapped Kieran rates his win at Dean Wood as the highlight of his blossoming career, although he is also part of the three-strong team representing Royal Lytham juniors in the English Junior Club Championships at Frilford Heath in Oxford.

Away from the golf course, he plays for both Kirkham Juniors Football Club and Kirkham and Wesham Cricket Club.

He added: “I’m looking forward to continuing my progress with the county golf set-up and would love to play for England one day, but I already owe a debt of thanks to the people who have helped me along the way including John Barclay at Lancaster, all the coaches and organisers at Royal Lytham, Fairhaven and the Lancashire Golf Union.

“I would also like to thank a local organisation, the Richard J Wilson Sports Foundation, who helped to fund my new equipment for this season, which was a fantastic gesture and one which has really helped me.”

 

RESULTS:  72 Kieran Hogarth (Royal Lytham and St Annes); 73 Matthew Jackman (S&A); 74 Oliver Duck (S&A); Adam Mujahid (Nelson); 75 Andrew Haswell (Dean Wood),  Adam McLean (Formby), Thomas Watson (Hillside); 77  Elliot Tickle (Blackley), Thomas Ratcliffe (S&A), Kieran McCarthy (Dean Wood).

 

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