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Ed Master at Eaton

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DIFFERENT year, different course, same outcome. Ed Featherstone underlined his status as a shining light among the county’s elite golfers with a second successive triumph in the Norfolk Amateur Championship.

Twelve months after landing the historic title at Royal Cromer, Featherstone followed up with a fine four-shot success at Eaton Golf Club.

The Sheringham High School sixth-former began his title defence with a superb 64 to equal the amateur course record.

A subsequent level-par 70 left him at six-under for the tournament – and an overnight eight-shot lead.

But from what appeared to be an apparently uncatchable position, Featherstone was forced to dig deep on the final day when a swirling breeze tested the field.

Fellow teenager Harry Thomas coped best with the tricky conditions and moved to within just three strokes of the summit when he sunk a 20-foot birdie putt on the 11th green.

With Featherstone in trouble at the next and Thomas safely on the green in regulation, it looked as if the gap might close again.

But Featherstone saved par with a gutsy chip-and-putt to stabilise his round. He mustered another quality up and down – this time for birdie – at the 14th to reassert and his advantage was back up to six shots when Thomas dropped a stroke at the following hole after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.

Thomas kept chipping away and a deft touch from the back of the 16th green produced a birdie. But Featherstone kept his cool and drew generous applause from the crowd surrounding the last green when he holed a 15-foot par putt to claim victory.

Featherstone, 18, said: “It was definitely a goal for the season and I’m happy I’ve ticked that off.  

“I’m really happy with the overall score, not so happy with the second day. I definitely struggled the first few holes. Harry put a bit of pressure on – he managed the conditions really well.

“But the first day I put the work in and managed to reap the rewards. The first round was the first I’ve had in a while that I felt like I was very happy over everything. It just went my way, which doesn’t happen all the time. It was really good.”

An impressive weekend’s work from the promising Thomas included a hole-in-one at the 7th on the opening day (fourth-placed Harry Bradfield also made an ace on the same par-3).  

Thomas, 16, said: “I gave myself a chance and sort of fell away at the end. But it was nice to be in contention, so I’m pretty pleased.

“I got close, but Ed’s a great player and it’s a great achievement for him to win two years in a row.”

Thomas was part of the Eaton trio that landed the team trophy, staged over the first 36 holes. He, George Morris and Nic Sperrin registered a combined tally of 436, which was good enough to see them edge out Sheringham Golf Club on countback.

Norfolk County Golf Union secretary Peter Johns said: “Ed Featherstone was a worthy championship winner and Harry Thomas a gallant runner-up after two days of excellent competition golf.

“Our thanks are extended to Eaton, who hosted the championship for the first time. The course was in immaculate condition and understandably received a lot of compliments from competitors. We are also very grateful to Heacham Manor for their support of Norfolk County Golf Union in 2024.”

Norfolk Amateur Championship (Eaton Golf Club) leading scores209: E Featherstone (Sheringham) 64 70 75. 213: H Thomas (Eaton) 76 66 71. 215: M Bernstein (King’s Lynn) 70 72 73. 219 H Bradfield (Mattishall) ) 67 75 77. 220: G Morris (Eaton) 70 74 76. 221: J Little (Sheringham) 68 77 76. 226: B Hobley (Bawburgh) 84 68 74; S Goddard (Bawburgh) 72 79 75; S Rafferty (Royal Norwich ) 76 74 76. 227: S Sadler (Sprowston Manor) 73 74 80

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