HALLAMSHIRE’S Barclay Brown was unable to follow immediately on the path club-mate Matt Fitzpatrick took by winning the Telegraph BMW Junior Championship.
But the 14-year-old has time on his side and intends to use the lessons learned at Quinta do Lago in Portugal during his debut in the event to make a further assault on the title.
Fitzpatrick, who recently won his first European Tour event, the British Masters, and former US Open champion Justin Rose are past winners of the Telegraph BMW competition described by past European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley as one of junior golf’s ‘majors’.
Brown made a promising start in his bid for glory on the Quinta do Lago’s redesigned North Course and after an opening 73 shared second place behind eventual winner Jamie Li, of Bath.
A second score of 73 and a final-round 79 meant his challenge came up short, but he is already targeting qualifying for the event again next year.
He said: “I was disappointed not to challenge for the title in the end, but it was a really special week.
“I hope to come back next year and do what Jamie Li has done. I’m from the same club as Matthew Fitzpatrick and so I knew about the Telegraph Championship after his win. It would be great to follow in his footsteps.
“My aim out on the course is always to try and enjoy it. I try and have a laugh and not to be deadly serious until I get down to my shot.
“I learned a lot about course management during the week and how the pins were treacherous. You also have to think about your shot off the tee. It’s a great course.”
Stoke Park’s John Gough looked set for victory when he led by four shots from overnight leader Li entering the final nine holes.
But Li recovered from an early triple bogey to produce a stunning comeback on the inward nine as four birdies helped him card a 71 to finish on five under par, one stroke clear of Gough.
Royal County Down’s Olivia Mehaffey, the world No 16 amateur, won the girls’ event by an overwhelming 16 strokes.
Cleckheaton duo Olivia Hamilton (86 84 80) and Megan Clarke (81 82 87) finished tied for seventh.
The teenagers struggled to find their best form as, like the rest of the field, they had no answer to the impressive exploits of Northern Ireland ace Mehaffey.
However, Hamilton, from Bradford, said: “It was a quite amazing week in Portugal. I had never played abroad before and to gain the experience of playing a course like Quinta do Lago was brilliant.
“The pins were put in really challenging positions, but that just added to the tournament and how strong the field was. Playing with my club teammate Megan Clarke on the final day was great. We started playing together as seven-year-olds and we have both come on so far in that time.”
Clarke, from Heckmondwike, added: “Playing the event, it just showed us what it could be like playing in a professional event and play in general. “It shows you how good people really are at this level. I just really enjoyed the whole week and I definitely want to try and qualify again.”
Mehaffey, ranked 16th in the world and third in Europe, confirmed her enormous promise as rounds of 71 70 and 69 allowed her to cruise to victory.