Dream return for Amess
HOME on vacation from American university, Paul Amess decided to enter the Hertfordshire Amateur Championship for the first time, with the venue being the Knebworth club where he had been a member since his junior days. It was a happy decision
HOME on vacation from American university, Paul Amess decided to enter the Hertfordshire Amateur Championship for the first time, with the venue being the Knebworth club where he had been a member since his junior days.
It was a happy decision for Paul and for the club for he became only the second Knebworth player to win the county title in its 84-year history and he achieved it in the club's centenary year.
"I had been looking forward to being home again with parents and friends and enjoying playing in the championship on my home course after college golf, hoping to do well, but winning the title is like a dream come true," he said.
After qualifying with solid rounds of 72, 73, three over par, he defeated three times champion John Ambridge (Moor Park) 4&3, then beat Brookmans Park duo Ryan Newman by one hole and last year's runner-up Laurence Allen 5&4 to reach the final.
Here he met former runner-up Chris Tingey (Mid Herts) and, as in his previous victories, was never in arrears, being four up after nine holes and winning 5&4, at that stage being two under par,
Tingey, who had led the qualifiers by two strokes with rounds of 68, 67, seven under par, reached the final by beating Michael Ready (Old Fold Manor), one hole, former champion Nick Pateman (Porters Park) at the 19th, and James Jankowski (Potters Bar) 3&2.
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The only previous championship winner from Knebworth in 1985 was Peter Robinson, county captain, who moved to Australia.
Left hander Paul, 22, and his father Ian, also a member, moved to Woburn for a spell before returning to Knebworth. He has spent four years on a golf scholarship at Temple University in Philadelphia, graduating with a degree in finance, and is returning this weekend for another year to gain his Masters diploma.
He is captain of the college golf team and earlier this year won the Bermuda Match Play championship.
"As to the future, I may consider turning professional next year, or remain on the amateur circuit and make a business career in America," he said.
In the final he went into the lead at the second hole with a par, won the next par five, getting up and down for a birdie, won the fifth with par, lost the sixth after driving into trees for Tingey to get one back, birdied the seventh, pitching to 3ft, and birdied the ninth, holing from 10ft, to be four up.
He won the short 10th with par to be five up, lost the 11th, going out of bounds, got up and down at 13 to go five up again and halved the next for a 5&4 win.
Chris Tingey, runner-up in 2004 to Robert Leonard, won two tough clashes to reach the semi-final, getting the better by one hole of Michael Ready, who gained his match-play place as the last qualifier after a three-way play off. Against Nick Pateman, 2006 champion, Tingey was taken to an extra hole before going through.
In 2006 he led his Mid Herts team to victory in Spain in the final of the Mail on Sunday National Classic.
Among the 16 qualifiers, Tom Lewis (Welwyn Garden City) won his opening match against Christopher Barnes (Mill Green) 3&2, then lost out by the same margin to James Jankowski, who had earlier beaten Andrew Collie (Welwyn Garden City) 4&3.
Sam Claridge (Harpenden Common) lost in the first round by 4&3 to David Rickwood (Bishops Stortford), who was then beaten at the 20th by Laurence Allen. Ryan Newman claimed a fine victory at the 20th over Greg Schmidt (West Herts). Nick Pateman won his first round match against Nick Davis (Old Fold Manor) 3&2.
Ryan Newman shot a course-equalling record 66 and 71, five under par, to finish in second place, two strokes behind qualifying winner Chris Tingey in the qualifying.