(Image provided by Leaderboard Photography)
SULLY GODDARD produced his best performance to date to finish second in the English Boys’ Under-14 Open Stroke Play Championship for the Reid Trophy.
The Norfolk County Golf Union teenager shone in the international field at Sandiway Golf Club in Cheshire.
Goddard, a junior member at both Bawburgh and Thetford Golf Club, only lost out in a play-off to Spain’s Juan Miro Asory after the pair completed 54 holes on a two-under-par total of 208.
Goddard fired an opening-day 71, but the highlight of his tournament was a stunning second-round 65.
He flew out of the gates, making five birdies in his opening six holes to set up the lowest-scoring round of his career so far.
As a result, he surged to the top of the leaderboard before playing a central part in a thrilling final day’s golf.
The lead swapped hands on more than occasion but Goddard was back in pole position as he stood on the final tee.
With the adrenalin flowing, he crunched an 8-iron a little too far on the par-3 and a lip-out from 10 feet meant he signed off with a three-putt.
At the first play-off hole Goddard showed great composure on the green, draining a mid-range putt to keep his chances alive. His brilliant short-game was again to the fore at the next hole as he fizzed a chip to a couple of feet.
But moments later, there was nothing he could do other than watch on as his Spanish opponent stepped up and rolled in a 30-footer for birdie to clinch the title.
Goddard, 14, said: “I’m not disappointed. It’s been really good and I’m really proud of how I played. The field was very strong. I went into the tournament just wanting to make the cut.
“I had a solid round on day one and then day two was my highlight and it put me into big contention at the top of the leaderboard.
“I was quite nervous going into the play-off because I’ve never done one that competitive before. On the first hole, I holed a `15, 20-footer for par just to calm my nerves a little bit. He had a 10-footer to carry on to the next and holed it, which was a bit of a shame.”
What made Goddard’s efforts all the more admirable was that the Reid Trophy was his first crack in such a tournament.
He added: “I’d never done a proper England Golf event, so I was a little bit nervous on my first couple of holes but then I calmed down and played decent. The putter was unreal for the second day. In the first six holes, I must have holed probably three or four 15-footers.”
As for the future, Goddard – who also recently made a winning debut for Norfolk men’s second team – is keen to develop his fast-blossoming game. He said: “I really want to keep improving.”