England’s Enrique Dimayuga scored four-under par 64 at West Sussex Golf Club today and shares the first round lead in the Carris Trophy with Italians Andrea Romano and Julien Paltrinieri.
Dimayuga (pictured top) celebrated his 16th birthday yesterday and declared that his present was the arrival of a hot putter for today’s first round of the English U18 boys’ open championship.
“It was cold last week at the McGregor, it was cold the week before, but today it came nice and hot,” said Dimayuga, from Cuddington, Surrey. “I was hitting the middle of the greens and holing putts, it was just solid.
“Shooting under par is always a pleasure but this is such a prestigious tournament it makes it more incredible.”
The U16 boy international is in good form having taken fifth place in last week’s McGregor Trophy, the English U16 boys’ open. He’d love to go better this week – as would his co-leaders.
Romano is keen to add to his portfolio of four Italian championships. The most recent is the U18 title, which he won a week after coming runner-up in the French boys. Meanwhile, Paltrinieri would like to take a big title home, to sit alongside the 2016 British girls’ win of his younger sister, Emilie.
Together, the trio head an impressive leaderboard boasting 31 players who matched par or better, despite the heathery challenge which cost some of the other players dearly.
“I have to stay focussed for four days to win this tournament. One hole can destroy you if you miss the fairway,” said Romano, 17.
Paltrinieri (pictured) made one brief excursion into the thick stuff, which led to his solitary bogey, but for the rest, he said: “I played really solid and my short game was very good.”
The pair will be rooting for each other: “When we play the same competitions we help each other along and so we are happy when one of us plays well,” added Paltrinieri.
Behind them is a group of three on three-under 65 which includes England players Matt Freeman (Notts.) and Robin Williams (Peterborough Milton). Freeman was first to post his score and reaped the benefit of lots of hard work on his putting.
“Putting has been my weak spot but I have really worked on it to get it up to scratch. Today I trusted the lines on the greens and, while I holed a few long ones, I was very confident over the six-footers,” he said.
They’re being chased by a seven-strong group on two-under which includes 17-year-old Ben Quinney (Bearsted). He is playing in one of his first English championships, having worked hard over the last year to get his handicap low enough to make the field of 144 players – from an entry of over 200.
He marked his debut in style reaching the turn in two-over, before playing home with nine straight pars. “This course suits my game, if you hit fairways and greens it gives you a chance,” he said.
After tomorrow’s second round the field will be cut to the top 60 players and ties who will qualify for the final 36 holes.