Tomlinson’s final showing

Henry Tomlinson, who reached the final of English Amateur Championship.
Henry Tomlinson, who reached the final of English Amateur Championship.

ROYAL Lytham and St Annes golfer Henry Tomlinson produced the performance of his career to reach the final of the English Amateur Championship.

He showed outstanding form to get to the final at Silloth-on-Solway, losing in the decider to Harry Ellis, who made history with his victory.

Ellis became the youngest player ever to win the title in a 36-hole marathon that lasted almost 11 hours, after two stoppages for thunderstorms.

He is the youngest ever champion at 16 years 11 months and 28 days, beating the previous record set by 18-year-old Nick Faldo when he won at Royal Lytham in 1975.

Tomlinson, on a golf scholarship at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, was naturally disappointed.

He said afterwards: “Full credit to Harry – he played well.

“I missed a few putts which were crucial, but I’ll take a lot of positives from this.”

Having trailed for most of the morning round and gone into lunch one-up, Ellis extended his lead when Tomlinson three-putted the first. They were on the fourth green when play was suspended for the first time.

They resumed two hours later after the course had superbly soaked up gallons of water, that had many greens under water.

But the pair completed only the fourth, which Tomlinson won with a par four, and two more holes, which were halved, before lightning forced the second suspension for an hour and 20 minutes.

When they resumed for the third time and after sterling work by the green staff, the rest of the final was completed in evening sunshine while the golf matched the magnificent surroundings.

Tomlinson had the chance to win the seventh as he had the fourth when play resumed on the first occasion.

But this time he three putted to allow Ellis to remain two up.

It stayed that way until the 10th where Tomlinson holed from 18 feet for birdie to cut the deficit.

But Ellis hit back at the 11th with a 20-foot birdie putt after his opponent had splashed out of a bunker to two feet.

Ellis went further in front at the short 12th after both had finished short of the green.

While Tomlinson chipped eight feet past the pin and missed the return, Ellis left his two feet away and holed for par.

At three-up, Ellis seemed home and dry, but Tomlinson bravely bounced back with back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th, both par fives.

At 13, both missed the elevated green.

Ellis chipped to five feet and Tomlinson to 15 feet.

But while the Royal Lytham man holed, Ellis missed.

Then at 14, Ellis fired his drive right on to a mound, could only chip back to the fairway and reached the green in three.

Tomlinson was short of the green in two and chipped so close his putt was conceded.

Ellis needed to hole from distance but failed, and his lead was back to one.

It looked as if Tomlinson would add a further birdie at the 15th but he missed from five feet, a slip he was to regret.

They halved the 200-yard 16th in pars with superb chip shots but the end came at 17 when Tomlinson bunkered his approach.

He came out to the back of the green and saw his putt slip by, but Ellis, whose second finished short of the putting surface, wedged to three feet and holed out for victory.