SHEFFIELD’S Joe Dean ensured the English Men’s Amateur title remains in Yorkshire hands with an emphatic 9&7 win over Sundridge Park’s Alfie Plant at Alwoodley GC.
Twenty-one-year-old Dean stood eight up with eight holes to play in the 36-hole final when he almost holed his tee shot at the 179-yard par-3 11th.
Kent player Plant, needing to ace the hole to prolong the match, spun his tee shot back off the green and - when he approached and saw Dean’s ball no more than six inches from the cup - conceded the hole and championship.
It meant Dean had followed in the footsteps of his Yorkshire county team-mate Nick Marsh, of Huddersfield GC, by lifting the crown whose other previous holders include Nick Faldo, Mark James, Paul Casey and his fellow Sheffield golfer Danny Willett.
He was never once down in the match and played the 29 holes in an approximate four under par.
A birdie at the second hole in the morning edged him in front and he quickly went two up. Plant’s excellent tee shot to eight feet at the 143-yard par-3 seventh halved Dean’s lead, but the Lindrick and Hillsborough member restored it at the next and a par at the ninth was good enough to put him three ahead.
By the time they came to the last hole of the morning he was five in front and, although he lost it, lunched with a healthy four-hole lead.
He ate lunch in his car with girlfriend Emily Lyle, herself a one-handicap golfer, to keep away from the clubhouse hubbub and not let his mind dwell on the prospect of becoming the nation’s champion.
The strategy worked and he came out to birdie the first three holes under sullen skies which eventually dropped a deluge on the course. By that point, Dean and Plant had reached the 10th with the Yorkshireman seven ahead. The Kent man had to play three off the tee after losing his tee shot, made a ‘birdie’ with his second for a six but went eight down to Dean’s par.
The players had to wait for the 11th green to be cleared of standing water before Dean brought the curtain down on proceedings with a punched seven-iron which passed the hole, spun back and lipped out when it looked sure to drop.
Never mind, he has had three holes-in-one before, and now one English golf title.
For the last two years he has won the Lee Westwood Trophy at Rotherham GC and he joked: “Hopefully now everyone will stop calling me a one-course player.”
Next week he will represent Yorkshire in the qualifying event for County Finals.
A full interview with newly-crowned English Men’s Amateur champion Joe Dean plus a video report on the final, including footage of nis near hole-in-one, will appear later on The Yorkshire Post website.