Liam rewarded for great season

GolfIt has been a spectacular autumn for 16-year-old Liam Brace of Stoke by Nayland. He made his Suffolk first-team debut against Cambridgeshire in the Anglian League and won the Andalusian Junior Championship at Valderrama in Spain while setting an amateur course record.

Golf

It has been a spectacular autumn for 16-year-old Liam Brace of Stoke by Nayland.

He made his Suffolk first-team debut against Cambridgeshire in the Anglian League and won the Andalusian Junior Championship at Valderrama in Spain while setting an amateur course record.

To add to his triumphs he has been selected in the 12-strong English Golf Union under 18 squad for 2007.


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Brace finished fifth in the McGregor Trophy after leading the opening round. He has also represented England boys.

The England Under-18 squad is: Adam Best (Cleveland), Liam Brace (Stoke by Nayland), Tommy Fleetwood (Formby Hall), Bill Fowles (Wentworth). Jack Hiluta (Chelmsford), Eamonn “Stiggy” Hodgson (Sunningdale), Gary King (Tyrrells Wood), Matthew Nixon (Ashton-under-Lyne), Eddie Pepperell (Frilford Heath), Garrick Porteous (Bamburgh Castle), Darren Renwick (Worthing) and Henry Smart (Walton Heath).

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The squad will attend training and assessment sessions at Woodhall Spa over the winter, starting this month.

Liam and Alastair Hall of Bungay qualified for the trip to Spain and both did Suffolk proud.

They flew into Malaga and were able to watch three hours of the Volvo Masters at Valderrama. Then followed a three-hour coach trip to El Rompido on the Costa de la Luz where Stuart Ballingall (also of Barnham Broom) coaches in the winter. The first three rounds of the tournament were to be played on the North and South courses.

There had been thunderstorms the previous night and the fairways were very wet, but play, which had been in some doubt, was possible. Liam started with a 78 while Alastair had 75. In the second round Liam had 75 and Alastair was round in 77. Then Liam hit top form on the South course to set a new amateur record of 69. Miguel Angel Jimenez holds the professional record of 66.

The top 12, including Liam who was now leading the field by three shots, and Alastair who was in fourth place, moved back Valderrama.

Liam was suffering from a stomach upset overnight and there was no guarantee he would be able to complete 18 holes. His father Dean was his caddy. Liam was soon three over par but had a tremendous second nine to take the trophy by three shots.

In the meantime the Stoke by Nayland juniors, who have been so successful, were picking up the prizes in the East Anglian inter-club Shield at King's Lynn.

Liam's brother Scott, now off scratch, bowed out of the junior ranks with a one under par round of 71 that won him the gross individual trophy.

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