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Kris cream of the crop as England youngster wins R&A Amateur Championship

Kris Kim continued his sensational golfing form as he was crowned the R&A Boys’ Amateur champion on Sunday, following a thrilling 38-hole final.After 36 holes couldn’t decide a winner, 15-year-old Kris kept his cool as he beat Alex Papayoanou of the USA on the second play-off hole at Ganton Golf Club. He said: “It feels great! All the names that have been on the trophy beforehand, it’s a privilege and I’m really happy to join that list. “We had to drive back afterwards so there hasn’t been a chance to celebrate it. I’ve just been sleeping and recovering from a long week and I’m off to France on Tuesday to play in the Jacques Leglise Trophy, so any celebrations will have to wait a while!” It’s been a remarkable year for Kris, who won the Fairhaven Trophy in May before breaking the Golf Club of Geneva course record in Switzerland representing England in the European Team Championship, while he also won the McGregor Trophy in July, similarly through two play-off holes. He revealed: “It definitely helped having been in a play-off at the McGregor Trophy. It helped me to keep calm and have a good game-plan for this play-off. I hit a driver off the 1st and played quite aggressive, Alex hit a three-iron off the tee and we both made par from there. “On the 2nd we both hit similar clubs off the tee before I hit the front edge of the green but the pin was all the way at the back and I three-putted for bogey. He was just long and chipped on but three-putted from close range which I wasn’t expecting. I thought we’d be going to a 3rd hole so it was quite unusual but obviously I was really happy to win.” Kris began the week in fine form, as he produced five straight birdies through holes 7-11 at Fulford Golf Club in the stroke play qualifying. That first round 68 plus a 72 on the Wednesday saw him finish 7th out of the 144 competitors and into Thursday’s match play stages. The Walton Heath golfer beat Luca Memeo of Italy 3&2 before seeing off Mads Viemose Larsen of Denmark 2&1 in the final 32. Erik Sabelstrom Holmberg was up next but Kris was too good for the Swedish youngster, winning 3&2 to reach the quarter-finals. A convincing 4&3 win versus Spain’s Marcel Fonseca saw him through to the semis before a 2&1 win over France’s Hugo Le Goff secured his place in the final. The Epsom College pupil admitted: “I just played steady golf throughout the match play stages but in the final, there was a moment when Alex chipped in on the 7th for birdie. I was able to hole a long putt for birdie to halve it so that really helped to keep the momentum going.” Kris, who turns 16 on September 30, came into the R&A event on top form after winning five of six points available to help England Boys’ & Girls’ team lift the Home Internationals title at Lindrick earlier this month. Following this week’s Jacques Leglise Trophy in France (the Under 18 version of the St Andrews Trophy), he will then head out to the USA to play in the Junior Players Championship and admitted that he’s also hoping to make the Junior Ryder Cup. He added: “I’m also planning to play in the DP World Tour’s Q School and at a couple of amateur events in Australia.” Elsewhere, England’s Isla McDonald-O’Brien did tremendously to reach the semi-finals of the R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship. Just like Kris, Isla finished 7th out of the 144 players in the stroke play qualifying, following scores of 74 and 70 before she beat Norway’s Elisabeth Borsheim 2&1 in the last 64 of the match play. Next up was Estonia’s Elizaveta Sofia Reemet but Isla was in devastating form to win 8&7 to book a place in the final 16, where she had a tricky test against Finland’s Anastasia Hekkonen, winning the match on the 18th. She then beat fellow England star Sophia Fullbrook 2&1 to reach the semis before eventual champion Helen Briem of Germany won 2&1 to end Isla's brilliant tournament.


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