James Glenn returned to the winner’s circle with a gritty performance to win the North of England Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship at Seaton Carew.
In testing conditions, with blustery wind and spells of heavy rain over the three days, Durham City-based James produced a five under-par total of 279 to win by one shot from Wynyard’s Jack Ainscough as Bramhall’s fast-finishing Daniel Hayes finished a further shot back in third place.
James set out his stall early with an opening round of 68 and went one better on the second day before wrapping up the title with rounds of 73 and 71 on day three, though a late stumble – a double bogey at the 17th in the fourth round – almost derailed the American.
“I knew when I two-putted 15 for par, I held a three-shot lead over Jack who was in the clubhouse,” said the 33-year-old Texan.
“I decided on a two iron off the 17th tee instead of driver to try and take the trouble on the right out of play. I hit it right but caught a great lie with 165 yards to the green. Then, my eight iron went 190 yards – the mother of all fliers – and ended up 25 yards over the green. I found another good lie, but the shot was downhill and downwind and I deliberately chunked it left which still left a delicate shot which, fortunately, I played well to 15ft and two-putted for six.
“That meant I had to hit a good drive on the 18th, which I did, and made a solid par for the win.”
Earlier, Jack couldn’t find a key birdie on the closing stretch with seven straight pars after a bogey at 11 to finish runner-up to James as Daniel had to settle for third place after a superb closing round of 65, which included eight threes – six of them birdies.
Southport and Ainsdale’s Jack Mcphail, South Shields’ Martin McCririck and Moortown’s Oliver Cage all finished a further shot back, with Martin rueing a costly triple bogey seven at the 16th.
Meanwhile, the County Plate was won by Yorkshire with Sam Norman and Oliver Cage counting for a two-round total of 12 under-par, beating James and Jack by three shots.