Published: 12:00, 29 May 2021
| Updated: 16:23, 29 May 2021
By Mark Taylor - email@example.com
Ben Quinney had a season-opening tournament to remember by winning the Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog Golf Club.
The 21-year-old has joined an illustrious roll of honour that includes former world No 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald and Ryder Cup players David Gilford and Andy Sullivan in landing the world ranking amateur event.
Quinney, who is a member of Kings Hill Golf Club, set the standard that could not be caught in a one-shot victory over Five Lakes' Jack Garnett, but it did not get off to the best of starts with bogeys on the first two holes of the Old Course in the 72-hole competition.
But he recovered to fire a one-under-par 69 to take the joint lead after the first round.
"In the morning, I started off with bogey, bogey so I was two over through two thinking here we go. But I managed to battle that back to one under in the morning," said Quinney.
"I just had a couple of good feelings towards the end of that first round, and just carried it into the second round and putts started dropping, so it was great."
It was five-under-par 65 in that second round that laid the foundations for the victory, giving him a five-shot lead overnight.
A solid two-under-par 68 in the third round kept Quinney in front, but Five Lakes' Jack Garnett was making good progress behind, going from level par overnight to three under heading for the final round.
With no indication of the scoring out on the course, Quinney was unaware that Garnett was making ground by shooting a five-under 65 to take the clubhouse lead.
It meant that when Quinney bogeyed the last to finish the round on one-under 69 for a nine-under-par total of 271, he was unaware what he was playing for.
"I didn't know what that putt was for on the last," he said.
"I was a bit nervous and didn't really know what was going on, but luckily I was still one shot ahead after I tapped it in."
It sealed the biggest win of Quinney's career, and exceeded expectations.
"It was my first event of the season, and I just thought I would come in for the 72 holes over two days and thought it would be good to get some competitive golf back in since last year," he said.
"We didn't really have any expectations, other than to go out there and enjoy it. It's great to come out with the win.
"I've never won an amateur event before. It was my first, and hopefully many more this season.
"I had a great practice round with one of my friends from university, and we decided it's not the longest course but you've got to plod yourself around and if you're going to miss, miss in the right spaces.
"We worked out what clubs it would be best to hit off the tees and just stuck to the game plan. When I did hit a bad one, it was still in a good position to hit the green and make a par, or sometimes make a birdie."
Next on the agenda for Quinney is the St Andrews Links Trophy in what he hopes could be a season leading into turning pro.
"I will have this season of amateur golf, have a little reflection after the year and see how it's gone, then my plan is to turn professional," he said.
"I have EuroPro qualifying coming up later in the year, so I will hopefully get a card for that and turn professional to play that next year.
"If it doesn't go my way then I will stay as an amateur for another year and hopefully give it another crack next year."