Berkshire Trophy shared

Kevin Freeman and Colin Edwards share the 2000 Berkshire Trophy, one of the biggest amateur events in the world

Martin Park
Mon, 8 May 2000

Berkshire Trophy shared

Kevin Freeman (Gerrards Cross) and England International Colin Edwards (Bath) shared The Berkshire Trophy with a 6-under par total over four rounds at the glorious heathland venue in temperatures close to the 80's.

Freeman, a BB&O County regular, set the pace with two blistering rounds of 67 and 69 for an seven under par total at the halfway stage and a three shot lead going into the final day over England Boys Cap Steven Lewton.

Lewton kept pace with Freeman over the front half of the Red Course and narrowed the gap as Freeman dropped to five-over par for his round after eight holes.

But Freeman rallied as he reeled off five birdies in seven holes on the back nine to consolidate his position at the top of the leaderboard, finishing with a level par 72 and the lead going into the final round.

Much was expected of the more experienced players, Walker Cup star Gary Wolstenholme and Hampshire Hog winner Mark Booker. But both players failed to apply pressure in the last round and fell away.

Edwards felt he needed a score in the low sixties to have a chance of winning. But a 70 was all he could muster and with a "horrible" four foot putt at the final hole, posted six under par to lead in the clubhouse.

Freeman could not consolidate on the reachable par fives as he parred the 15th where many were picking up shots, then three putted the treacherous 221-yard par three 16th from 25 feet.

He found the huge greenside pot bunker with his second shot on the par five 17th and could only manage a par, but his lead was still intact at that point, only by one shot.

With 12 feet for birdie at the 175-yard 18th, Freeman ran his first putt a yard past and missed the return and tied with Edwards.

A disappointed Freeman said: "I felt as if I let it go a little with two three putts in the last three holes, a bit of a nightmare, but these things happen don't they. But I had some good bounces, especially yesterday, so the luck evens itself out in the end. But I am still very pleased to have won, even though it's a tie".

"I didn't feel any pressure going out in the last group, but I was five over after eight this morning. But I got it back. Overall, it was good stuff, I knew I was capable of it"

A surprised Edwards could not have believed he was tied for one of the biggest strokeplay events on the Amateur calendar.

"I thought one of the guys in front would have shot a better score to win. I thought I would have needed to shoot in the sixties to win. And I left myself a horrible four footer for par on the last to win".

"It is a shame for Kevin having three putted the last, but we have all done it and we will all do it again. But I am very surprised that I tied for the tournament and I am sure Kevin will look at it as great experience".

Results:

K Freeman (Gerrards Cross) -6 281
C. Edwards (Bath) -6 281
G Willman (Camberley Heath) -4 283
S Barwick (East Berks) -3 284
M Booker (Royal Mid Surrey) -3 284
J Kemp (John O'Gaunt) -3 284
J Wormald (Kingswood) -3 284
J Foster (Ballyclare) -3 284
J Simons (Royal Mid Surrey) -2 285
J Evans (Guildford) -2 285
S Lewton (South Beds and Woburn) -2 285
S Graham (Mid Sussex) -1 286
R J Fenwick (Bognor Regis) -1 286
R M Brown (Wrekin) -1 286
S Samphire (Ashford Manor) -1 286

Wolstenholme sideswipes The Lytham

With most of the England amateur squad conspicuous by their absence, opting to play in the Lytham Trophy instead, this years Berkshire Trophy did not get the field that it truly deserves.

With former winners such as Faldo, Lyle, Bonnallack, Van Phillips and Gary Wolstenholme, the Berkshire has always been a proving ground for potential superstars and if you could win here, it was a huge feather in the cap of any amateur.

England International Gary Wolstenholme was among the favourites to win this prestigious event and found it "ridiculous" that two of the biggest strokeplay events were played on the same weekend.

But Wolstenholme, a former winner here at the glorious heathland venue remained loyal to the event, despite the majority of the EGU selection committee choosing to look up north for the team.

And joint winner Colin Edwards was in full agreement with his England teammate Wolstenholme about the lack of "star" amateur names preferring the Lytham to the Berkshire.

"Lytham is just a great event too, if it weren't for my work commitments, I would have been at the Lytham. But the Berkshire is also a great event and a lovely setting for a golf course in May. It is a shame really; a bit stupid that both events are on the same weekend.

"A lot of pressure is put on some players to go to the Lytham, but I am lead to believe that The Berkshire will move to June next year, which would be great because it deserves a better field than it has been getting really".

Spare a thought

The huge undulating greens at The Berkshire were in sterling condition for the time of year, a little fast according to some players and costly to others, including the joint champion Kevin Freeman who missed two short putts down the stretch, ultimately costing him the outright winners spot.

But spare a thought for Freeman's BB&O county teammate Mark Housego, who only wished his putter would behave. The 19-year-old Housego is new to the Amateur circuit and his inexperience cost him dearly as he three-putted twenty greens over the weekend.

That would usually mean that you have the yips, or are of the higher handicaps. But to finish at 2-over par for the tournament tells the story that his greens in regulation must have been pretty good. If Housego could have halved his three-putt habit, he would have walked away with the title. But then again, everyone has a story to tell and unfortunately, that is golf for you!