Ben Wall has attributed his impressive South East England Links Championship display down to his roots – and a bit of help from one of the top golfers on the planet.
The 18-year-old, from Hayling Island, turned in a fine performance on the Kent coast.
It was enough to secure an unexpected fourth place at the event – held between the salubrious venues of Royal St George’s and Royal Cinque Ports.
After battling his way through the fierce wind that reached speeds of 60mph at times, Wall – who attends the Lee Westwood Golf Academy in Essex – turned in a terrific level-par final round.
His efforts saw him finish within four strokes of eventual winner, Max Orrin.
Wall, a member at Hayling Golf Club, said: ‘I’m used to that sort of wind playing at Hayling!
‘That definitely helped me stay patient and not get too frustrated.
‘The wind was tough all the way round.
‘But to finish fourth was far better than I expected.
‘I was ninth when I made the cut so I thought I would just try to put a couple of solid rounds together and see where it took me.
‘It was all about getting up and down and holing putts when you needed to.
‘I didn’t hit the ball that well and it was tough to do it in that wind – you try to hit a lower ball into the wind.
‘But I had a good last round to shoot level par and it got me right up there. I was pretty happy with that.’
The teenager, who made his Hampshire Colts debut recently, has been a student at the Lee Westwood Golf Academy at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club in Essex for the past two seasons after leaving Hayling College.
But he leaves next month, so is planning to do his PGA training with a view to turning professional later this year.
He said: ‘Being at the Lee Westwood Golf School has made a massive difference to my game.
‘You study for a Btec in sport but you also have a full-time golf programme, playing six days a week.
‘We’ve met him a couple of times, had some sessions on Skype with him and we’ve got a good understanding of how he prepares for tournaments and things like that.
‘It’s given me an understanding of how to prepare for tournaments and what I need to do to get better.
‘My handicap was 3.4 when I started and now I’m playing off plus 1.4.
‘But I’m looking to do my PGA qualification and turn pro towards the end of the year.
‘Hopefully, I will be a teaching professional.
‘But then I will try to save up some money and work my way on to the tour.’