Brydon triumphs in battle of endurance

Lyndsey HewisonNorfolk's Austin Brydon claimed his second county title in seven days when he won the Norfolk matchplay championship in a marathon endurance test at Barnham Broom.Lyndsey Hewison

Norfolk's Austin Brydon claimed his second county title in seven days when he won the Norfolk matchplay championship in a marathon endurance test at Barnham Broom.

His victory came exactly one week after he paired up with Royal Norwich colleague Scott Nichols to win the county foursomes.

'It was excellent to win back-to-back,' said Brydon, who is also a past winner of the Norfolk amateur and Open championships. For this latest achievement he received the trophy which he presented to the county when the matchplay championship was started six years ago.

Brydon's win was a real test of stamina and he joked afterwards: 'I can feel every hole I played!' He covered the first two rounds in a mere 32 holes before being taken to the 25th in the semi-final and to the 18th in the final against Royal Cromer's Charlie Bright.


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The semi-final, against Royal Norwich's Bruce McQuade, was the longest match Brydon has ever been involved in. 'I've never been in that situation before. The furthest I'd gone before that in a match was the 21st. It was quite bizarre.'

Brydon had been trailing by one hole with three to play before taking the match into extra-time. Both players had their chances to end the game but the required putts failed to drop and they recorded half after half after half. It all came to an end on the seventh extra hole where Brydon scored a par three and McQuade just failed to get up and down.

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The final eventually teed off 1� hours late - and among general play. 'The Barnham Broom members were brilliant, as we came round they stood aside and let us play through,' said Brydon. He made a justifiably tired start to the round: 'I won the first hole but then lost the next two and, for the first eight holes, Charlie was head and shoulders above me as I just managed to keep within two holes.'

Brydon made his move around the turn and got to two up, but after trading birdies and pars, the two players arrived at the 18th tee all square. Both players hit the fairway but Brydon's approach rolled just off the side of the green. However, he chipped up to within a foot and his par was conceded. Bright had a 20-footer for the title but it ran about 3ft passed and he missed the return.

However, the 18-year-old won the praise of the new champion: 'Charlie is a very good prospect. He has a good swing, hits the ball well and has a good attitude,' said Brydon.

The championship created a host of good and bad-luck tales but few as dramatic as the recovery of Feltwell's Chris Robson as he came back from three down to beat Kris Coop (Royal Cromer) in the first round. Robson played the back nine in five-under par, including an eagle two on the par four 12th.

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