Golf: Harris' record crushes the rest: England Boys captain in record-breaking mood

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The Independent Online
THERE were two rounds scheduled for the final day of the English Amateur Strokeplay Championship here yesterday, although they could have saved everyone a lot of time and effort by presenting Gary Harris with the Brabazon Trophy after one.

The 18-year-old from Broome Manor in Wiltshire made the final 18 holes virtually redundant with a morning round of eight-under-par 64 that broke the course record and spreadeagled the field to such an extent that he eventually coasted to victory by a six-stroke margin.

Harris, the England Boys captain, spent last week acting as the caddie for his club-mate and British Boys champion, David Howell, at the Benson and Hedges International and clearly picked up more than the clubs. 'David played with Jose-Maria Olazabal in the pro-am and made the cut,' he said, 'so I was there all week learning all I could.'

He is a quick learner, although you would have thought his day could have had an altogether different ending when he found the bunker on the second en route to a bogey five that surrendered his overnight one-shot lead. But if his opponents sensed weakness, that reverse was like the drawing back of a catapult.

The four birdies from the fifth, that included successful putts from 15, 20 and 15 feet, was spectacular enough, yet that was merely a taster for the inward nine which he cowed into submission with a five-under 32. He missed putts from four feet at the 15th and 16th that would have taken the round into the realms of the scarcely believable but still had birdies at 12, 13, 16 and 17 - the last with a putt of 40 feet - so that he arrived on the last green with two shots to take the record. From 30 feet that was by no means a formality but with one confident sweep of his club he charged the ball into the hole.

ENGLISH OPEN AMATEUR STROKEPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP/BRABAZON TROPHY (Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield) Leading final scores: 280 G Harris (Broome Manor) 72 70 64 74. 286 W Bennett (Ruislip) 69 74 70 73. 288 S Burnell (Brickendon Grange) 74 75 69 70, F Valera (Sp) 71 76 71 70, R Bland (Bramshott Hill) 73 72 71 72. 290 L James (Broadstone) 73 72 75 70. 291 S Jarvis (Gog Magog) 79 71 69 72, M Foster (Worksop) 70 77 68 76. 292 C Poxon (Little Aston) 74 71 77 70, B Dredge (Bryn Meadows) 68 76 72 76. 293 M Smith (Ross-on-Wye) 77 72 73 71, D Fisher (Stoke Poges) 76 72 72 73, G Wolstenholme (Bristol and Clifton) 70 77 72 74, D Watson (Mid-Kent) 75 71 75 72.