Louis Martin makes history as youngest-ever winner of President’s Mashie

Louis Martin (left), the 17-year-old Suffolk match play champion with SGU president Colin Firmin and

Louis Martin (left), the 17-year-old Suffolk match play champion with SGU president Colin Firmin and runner-up Luke Thompson. They are holding the Presidents Mashie which will find a place of honour for a year at Haverhill Golf Club. Photograph: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Seventeen-year-old Louis Martin became the youngest ever winner of the President’s Mashie, the Suffolk Golf Union match play championship played at Diss on Saturday and Sunday.

The Haverhill junior vice-captain, who is also a member of the Lee Westwood Academy at Stoke by Nayland, qualified for the event in 16th place. He started as the rank outsider in the field.

Match play often throws up surprises but for Martin to defeat one established county player after another over two days was amazing. It was no fluke.

His chipping and putting were exceptional and he was seldom in trouble off the tee.

On Saturday morning he beat Josh Driver, runner-up in the Suffolk Amateur Championship, on the last green. Driver was not expected to slip up on his home course.

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Martin repeated the feat against Chris Bartrum, who has been a regular Suffolk first team player for several years. The lead changed hands during the second nine but Martin was one up on the last tee.

Bartrum produced a storming drive down the middle some 80 yards ahead of Martin and looked set to take the match to extra holes.

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Martin was on the green in three but 25-feet short of the pin. Bartrum’s approach shot ended in a greenside bunker. He needed a sand save to survive. It did not happen and the hole was halved in par five. This was a second notable scalp for Martin.

On Sunday Martin took on Jamie Jones who had looked impressive in his first-round victory over Charlie Taylor of Diss. There was nothing much between the players until the closing stages when Jones missed a couple of short putts. Martin won on the 17th green.

This set up a final against Luke Thompson of Rookery Park, the holder of the trophy. Thompson appears regularly in national events and was expected to make class tell.

He, too, found that Martin’s powers of concentration and accuracy round the green were hard to combat.

Martin was dormie three up. Thompson won the 16th with a birdie thanks to a breath-taking chip over a grassless mound. Then he won the 17th so once again Martin was on the last tee knowing that he needed a half for the title.

Thompson looked best placed after the tee shots, but then the roles reversed. Thompson’s ball was in a grassy mound and Martin was on the fairway.

Both chipped to within six feet. Thompson holed out for a birdie. Then Martin sunk his five-foot pressure putt for the title.

The other semi-final saw Thompson beat Josh Robertson of Ufford Park on the final green.

Highlights on day one included a brave display by Rookery Park junior Conal Downing who took Thompson to the second extra hole in the first round. Downing, who missed many months of golf a couple of years ago with a badly broken arm, will have gained confidence from this display. He missed a short putt on the eighth to go one down at the turn but recovered well to display battling qualities.

Although Archie Moore, the Diss club captain last year, beat Andy Cunningham in the morning he was well beaten by Jones in the afternoon.

Greg Hills beat Jasper Johnson but was then worn down by Thompson.

Jack Forgan was too wayward to survive against Robertson.


President’s Mashie (match play).

First round: Louis Martin (Haverhill) beat Josh Driver (Diss) one up, Chris Bartrum (Diss) beat Alfie Halil (Flempton) 3 and 2, Archie Moore (Diss) beat Andy Cunningham (Stowmarket) 3 and 2, Jamie Jones (Hintlesham) beat Charlie Taylor (Diss) one up, Greg Hills (Felixstowe Ferry) beat Jasper Johnson (Ipswich) 4 and 3, Luke Thompson (Rookery Park) beat Conal Downing (Rookery Park) at second extra hole, Josh Robertson (Ufford Park) beat George Fricker (Ufford Park) 5 and 3, Jack Forgan (Stowmarket) beat Craig Nurse (Bury St Edmunds) 4 and 3.

Quarter-finals: Martin beat Bartrum one up, James beat Moore 6 and 5, Thompson beat Hills 3 and 1, Robertson beat Forgan 3 and 1.

Semi-finals: Martin beat Jones 2 and 1, Thompson beat Robertson one up.

Final: Martin beat Thompson one up.

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