Matt’s finish good enough to take title

Costessey Park's Matt Bacon claimed his place at the top of Norfolk golf with a fighting finish to win the county men's amateur order of merit, sponsored by Smith & Pinching.

As he teed up in the final counting event of the season, at Bawburgh, Bacon was lying in fourth place and 45 points behind the leader, Eaton's George Morris.

But he leapfrogged the lot with a score of 77. Bacon, who was the only one of the quartet to score order of merit points on a wet and windy day, finished 10 points clear of Morris.

'I was very pleased. Winning this was definitely one of my targets, but I wasn't sure it was achievable because I didn't have the chance to play as many events as I would have liked.

'But when I did play I was able to get points,' said Bacon.

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'I was still about 40 points behind when we went to Bawburgh and I wasn't over-confident because I've been working quite a lot and haven't played that much lately. But I managed to get enough points – although it was close!'

Bacon, who plays off plus-one, has moved on to the national stage this season with encouraging results. Notably he made the cut in the English amateur championship and got through qualifying for the Brabazon Trophy, the prestigious English open strokeplay.

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In addition he put in good performance in the top boys events, the Carris Trophy and the McEvoy Trophy, and also earned an England Schools international cap.

George Morris, meanwhile, had the consolation of winning the Norfolk handicap order of merit and finishing runner-up in the scratch table. This was his first year of playing order of merit events and his results were impressive.

The leading players in the scratch order of merit qualify for the Norfolk matchplay championship, making up a field of 16 alongside the current holder, Austin Brydon (Royal Norwich), the amateur champion Stuart Ballingall (Dunston Hall), the leading amateur in the Norfolk Open, Ian Hardy (King's Lynn), and the boys' champion, Luke Johnson (King's Lynn).

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