Title escapes Stephenson
GOLF OWEN Pearl, the left-hander from Stoke by Nayland, is the Suffolk junior match play champion. He beat Tom Stephenson of Bury St Edmunds two up in the final at Bungay - although he survived a wobble at the 17th when Stephenson was unable to capitalise.
OWEN Pearl, the left-hander from Stoke by Nayland, is the Suffolk junior match play champion. He beat Tom Stephenson of Bury St Edmunds two up in the final at Bungay - although he survived a wobble at the 17th when Stephenson was unable to capitalise.
The holder, Michael Swan of Stoke by Nayland, went out to Stephenson in the semi-final after finding problems on the greens.
Sixteen-year-old Stephenson has now claimed impressive scalps on his way to two major finals this year.
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In the Suffolk men's amateur match play he beat Bradley Wilkins, Matt Fordham and Alex Holmes, all county players, before losing the final to Will Wright of Rushmere down the 19th.
In the junior match play Stephenson beat Adam Woodhead (Newton Green) in a tight match and then brought Patrick Spraggs (Stowmarket) back to earth with a bump after his notable first round victory over Scott Brace at the first extra hole. Brace was one up on the last tee when he drove out of bounds.
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Stephenson added Swan to his list of conquests but, despite taking an early lead, was always fighting an uphill battle against Pearl.
On the opening day Pearl had beaten fellow left-hander Phil Westley from Hintlesham 2 and 1 and then edged through against Sam Forgan of Stowmarket on the final green.
James Reiss of Aldeburgh won a tight match against Stowmarket's Chris Underwood before a meeting with Harry Hogg, also of Woodbridge School.
Both players birdied the 18th to take the match to the first extra hole where Reiss prevailed.
Pearl took early control of his semi-final against Reiss and ended a deserving winner of the title although he was fortunate to qualify after his second round of 94 in the stroke play at Woodbridge.