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Kenny Leseur beats Oliver Betschart in play-off to win Amateur Stroke Play

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Kenny Leseur with his Amateur Stroke Play trophy (photograph supplied)

Kenny Leseur beat Oliver Betschart in an exciting play-off to win his first Bermuda Amateur Men’s Stroke Play Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on Sunday.

The 20-year-old sealed victory on the second play-off hole at the par-four 18th, where he got up and down to save par after Betschart carded a bogey.

Both players missed the green with their second shot from the fairway with Betschart’s landing short and Leseur in the rough, but the latter’s short game ultimately proved decisive as he produced a stunning flop shot that stopped four feet below the hole before sinking the subsequent par-saving putt after Betschart two-putted for bogey.

“The pin was in front and I was at the back of the green and there's a big slope there,” Leseur told The Royal Gazette.

“I had a good lie and just felt most confident with my flop shot. That was probably the calmest I felt all day over a shot because that was the first thing I learnt to do when I was practising golf. I felt confident in what I can do and I pulled it off, so I was happy with that.

“This week I accomplished my goal of staying consistent with my game plan and not letting what others do dictate to me. I just played my own game and did not worry about anybody else.

‘“I struggled a little but the last four holes I played very well. After I made double bogey on 14, I just relaxed for a second and told myself I was still in it and just needed to concentrate over these last four holes.”

The Butler University student held a two-shot advantage over Betschart heading into the final round, but the teenager clawed his way back and grabbed a share of the lead with two holes to play.

The battle for the title took another twist when Leseur regained sole possession of the lead after rolling in a long birdie putt on the penultimate hole, but Betschart refused to lie down and drew level again after making birdie at the 18th.

The pressure was on Leseur to make the play-off and he was forced to convert an eight-foot par putt from below the pin following a fantastic shot after his approach had found the rough behind the green.

“It feels good to know that what I have been working on for the last couple of months is working, and I am looking forward to keeping my confidence at a high,” added Leseur, whose final round of 75 contained three birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey.

Leseur grasped the lead from overnight Betschart on Saturday after firing a sizzling 67, which included six birdies.

“On Saturday I made a lot of putts that I missed on Friday,” Leseur said. “I hit the ball very well and had a few nice putts to add to it.

“Overall I was pleased with my round and knew I had a good chance going into Sunday.”

Betschart, 15, had his work cut out after making the turn at three over in the final round, but hit form coming in on the back nine, which he played one under to keep his title hopes alive.

“For pretty much the front nine I couldn’t get anything going,” Betschart said.

Putts weren’t dropping and I put myself in some silly situations that didn’t work out. Finally something started to come together on the back and I got more birdies in. I birdied 11, 15 and 18, and obviously making more putts helps.”

Betschart’s impressive fightback ultimately came up short at the second play-off hole.

“Kenny’s putting has been on for the last two days that I have played with him and I think I can definitely learn something from him,” added Betschart, whose final round of 72 included three birdies, the same amount of bogeys and a double bogey.

“He deserves it as much as anyone else, so I am really happy for him. It’s a great tournament to win. I am really glad how I played but at the end of day lower scores win.

“I wish I would have made it a bit easier on myself but it doesn’t always happen."

Rounding off the top three was past winner Adam Perry, who finished five shots adrift of Betschart and Leseur.

Scott Clark, from Columbus, Georgia, won the senior title by a whopping 18 shots and Lewis Macfarlane junior honours by a convincing ten-shot margin.

Scott Clark with his senior amateur stroke play trophy (photograph supplied)

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Published June 23, 2024 at 3:06 pm (Updated June 24, 2024 at 8:10 am)

Kenny Leseur beats Oliver Betschart in play-off to win Amateur Stroke Play

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