Heacham Manor youngster Warren Bates wins Norfolk Amateur title
- Credit: Archant
Warren Bates produced a spectacular start and finish to the weekend to lift the Norfolk Amateur Championship trophy at just his third attempt at Royal Norwich on Sunday.
The talented 18-year-old got his campaign under way in impressive fashion by breaking the course record with a 66 that included a triple bogey - and completed the job by holing a chip to come through a three-man play-off with fellow youngsters Giles Evans and Jack Cullington.
In doing so he became the first player from Heacham Manor, which only opened in 2009, to win the prestigious title and afterwards he was quick to praise managing director Paul Searle and coach Ray Stocker for the part they had played in his progress.
'Obviously this isn't only a big moment for me but it is also a big moment for my club and I would like to thank Paul for all the help and encouragement he has given me over the years and Ray for coaching me since I was nine years old.
'It's a great thrill to win this - I have been playing well recently and obviously it was great to start with a 66. After that I played solidly and it all came down to a play-off.'
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Bates' opening round contained two eagles. He holed his putt on the par five seventh after a superb approach shot and then chipped in at the par four 13th after narrowly missing the green with his drive. A triple bogey at the ninth after going out of bounds was an ugly blemish, but more birdies helped set a new record over a course that has been re-designed after losing two holes to the ongoing development of the site.
Bates followed his 66 with a 71 to take a one-shot lead into the second day over Marriott Sprowston Manor's Evans who added a fine 67 to his opening 71. Both then recorded level par 70s to set up a thrilling finale, with Iain Yule and Cullington breathing down their necks four and five shots back respectively.
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It was nip and tuck between the leading pair in the afternoon and they ended up all square after Evans had missed a lengthy par putt on the 18th that would have won it. He signed for a 71 and Bates for a 72, while an excellent 67 from Bawburgh's Cullington was good enough to match their one under par four round totals of 279.
It was then off to the ninth for a sudden-death play-off and Bates looked in trouble when both his rivals found the putting surface while he missed the target. But despair turned to delight when he chipped in from around 20 feet, with Evans and Cullington then both failing to hole the putts that would have extended the competition.