Highworth golf star looks forward to major amateur success
HIGHWORTH’S Ben Loughrey pulled off a key victory on the final afternoon of the long-standing golf international between England and France at Rochester & Cobham Park in Kent on Sunday.
The final score was 15-9 to the home side but the tie was still in the balance as Wrag Barn member Loughrey approached the closing holes of his match with Lionel Weber.
Although England needed just two points to win at that point, they were behind in most of the games still out on the course with Loughrey being three-down at the turn.
However, Loughrey, who also earned a point in the Saturday foursomes with his partner Ashley Chesters, grittily got back level with three to play and won the last two holes for a stunning victory.
It was the left to Craig Hinton to clinch the necessary point to give England their 28th success of the series that dates back to 1934.
Of his match-changing singles victory, Loughrey said: “It is not as if I was playing badly, I was three under par through eight holes and still three down.
“But I kept playing solid golf – I had two more birdies on the back nine – and my opponent started to get a bit tight.
“I was determined to get the win because it maintained my unbeaten record in singles for England.
“It was also great to win a foursomes point with Ashley, who was earning his first England cap. We are really good friends and spent six weeks playing together in Australia at the start of the year.” Having seen his side beaten in the previous contest at Chantilly two years ago, victory was a huge relief to England captain Colin Edwards.
“The match was a whole lot closer than the scoreline suggests,” he said. “At one stage it could have gone either way, but a couple of big performances turned it in our favour.
“The defeat in Chantilly two years ago really hurt so this is sweet revenge. A win here means a lot to me and the lads played magnificently, their attitude was good and there was a good spirit.”
Loughrey, 23, hopes the win over France proves the turning point of his season.
“I have made a slow start to 2012 and lost quite a bit of confidence in Australia where my short game went downhill,” the former winner of the prestigious Lee Westwood Trophy admitted.
“We had no coaching down there for four to five weeks and I began to struggle.
“But I have since spent some time working with my dad (former Wrag Barn professional Barry) and Graham Walker, the head coach of the England team and I have got some good things to work on.
“It is the Welsh Open Strokeplay Championships next week and a big month coming up, the pinnacle being the British Amateur Championships at Royal Troon starting on June 20.
“The aim is definitely to win one of the major tournaments.
“On top of that, I will be trying my hardest to be selected for the European Team Championship and the Eisenhower Trophy for England, before representing GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy.”