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Hunstanton’s Kit Holmes wins Norfolk Amateur Championship at Thetford

12:08 18 June 2012

Kit Holmes with the silverware at Thetford.

Kit Holmes with the silverware at Thetford.

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Hunstanton’s Kit Holmes lifted the Norfolk Amateur Championship trophy for the first time after a dramatic finish at Thetford yesterday.

The 21-year-old student recorded a one-shot victory as Caldecott Hall’s Aaron Bullock endured a nightmare finish that saw him drop into a tie for second place with Luke Johnson of King’s Lynn.

Holmes was looking on behind the 18th green after setting the clubhouse target of six over par 294 with a solid final round of 72 and knew Bullock would win outright if he could negotiate the 472-yard hole in the regulation four shots, while a bogey five would have been good enough to ensure a play-off.

The long-time leader found himself just off the green in three shots and there were gasps of amazement when an excellent fourth hit the pin and came to rest less than three feet from the hole.

Having narrowly failed to win the prestigious trophy outright Bullock had an apparently simple opportunity to take the event into extra-time but there was another shock for the gallery as he missed the tiddler coming back and handed victory to Holmes.

Bullock had led by four shots going into the final round, with two 73s in Saturday’s windy conditions putting him in a strong position and an excellent one under par 71 yesterday morning cementing his position at the top of the leaderboard.

Nearest challenger George Morris of Eaton, who had opened with a 70 on Saturday, quickly fell by the wayside and it soon became clear that Holmes and playing partner Johnson would be his biggest threats.

When Bullock notched an eagle three at the 492-yard par five sixth he looked well placed to hold off the challenge of the west Norfolk pair just ahead of him – but after dropping four shots in three holes around the turn he suddenly looked vulnerable, especially as Holmes and Johnson were making far fewer mistakes.

In the end both men completed their final rounds in level par 72, with Johnson missing a putt from around 10 feet at the last which, as it turned out, would have put him into a play-off. Bullock had to settle for a bitterly disappointing 78.

Holmes was eventually rewarded for an excellent back nine that included birdies at the 10th, 13th and 17th – and can now look forward to an exciting summer with an impressive piece of silverware on his mantelpiece.

The Stirling University sports science student has a busy schedule of events to look forward to north and south of the border before jetting across the Atlantic for an even bigger challenge.

“It’s a jam packed summer and I am really looking forward to it,” said Holmes.

“I am playing a lot of order of merit tournaments in Scotland and also the English stuff as well.

“Then I’ll be going over to Canada with the university for a few competitions as well before we play Stanford University in Scotland, so I will be able to test my game against some really top players. Hopefully I can maintain this sort of form and do well.

“I am really pleased to win this, although obviously you never like to see players miss short putts like that on the final green.

“I actually missed a couple of easy ones myself at 15 and 16 but luckily I holed a decent one at the last.”

Holmes had opened with a 75 on Saturday and added a 73 in the afternoon before yesterday morning’s 74 left him five shots behind the leader.

Johnson had started the final round a shot further back after efforts of 74 74 and 75. The top three finished well clear of the chasing pack, with Eaton’s Matthew Alden seven back after a 74 and three 76s. Ben Rawsthorne of Bawburgh and Morris, who finished with an 82, were joint fourth one shot further behind.

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