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Alfie Halil is Suffolk Open Champion

Alfie Halil became the first 16-year-old winner of the Faraday Trophy as Suffolk open champion since Paul Buckle of Stowmarket 36 years ago.He beat Bramford Golf Centre professional, Brad Wilkins, by one shot at Rookery Park on Sunday.

Pictured is(left to right) Bradley Wilkins, Suffolk County President, Colin Firmin and Alfie Halil.

Halil ended two under par for the tournament and also won the Chris Easterbrook Trophy as leading amateur. Halil’s victory margin could have been greater. He was three under par one shot behind surprise first round leader Simon Bearman of Newton Green after the opening round. Halil did not drop a shot in his opening round when he three-putted two of the par fives which prevented him from having an outright lead.

In the afternoon, as Bearman fell away, Halil, starting at the 10th, was four under par for the tournament with three holes to play. He dropped a shot at the eighth and three-putted the par three ninth in a nervous finish.

Halil, a key member of Suffolk’s under 16 and under 18 boys’ teams, is coached by Paul Kent at Flempton and Laurence Dodd at the Culford  He has left school and will be concentrating on his golf for the next two years.

Wilkins, with four shots to make up on Halil, made a brave bid. A seven late in his opening round was costly as were several missed putts.

In many cases the damage was done in the first round. Third-placed Luke Thompson was six shots behind Halil at lunch. His second round of 69 was not enough. The only other player to beat par in the afternoon was Calvin Sherwood of Rookery Park but his 77 in the morning had left him with an almost impossible task.

Suffolk amateur champion James Biggs of Diss was fourth with one over par 145.The holder, Sam Debenham of Hintlesham, had 76 and 78.

Suffolk boys have enjoyed great success this year with Louis Martin (Haverhill), not involved at Rookery Park, winning the President’s Mashie and George Fricker (Ufford Park) winning England Schools’ caps. Fricker started with an eight on his opening hole of the day, the 10th, when he had an unplayable lie in trees on the right off the tee.

Suffolk Golf Union president Colin Firman expressed disappointment with such a small field and urged players to make an effort to support the event in 2018.

(Tony Garnett)

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