Harry Ellis aiming to add British title to his English crown
HARRY ELLIS has already broken one record that had stood for more than 35 years when he became the youngest-ever English Amateur Champion, aged just 16, four years ago.
Ironically the 20-year-old – who claimed his first victory since his historic win at Silloth-on-Solway to break Sir Nick Faldo’s record by winning the Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog, at the end of last month – was only moving the bar to the same age set in the British Amateur Championship, which Ellis will compete in, starting today.
That record was firmly set seven years ago by Matteo Manassero – who defeated Hampshire’s Walker Cup-bound player Sam Hutsby in the 2009 final at Formby.
The teenager was quickly teeing it up on the European Tour after becoming the first Italian to win the British Amateur in its then 124-year history after making his debut in the Open at Turnberry followed by the 2010 Masters.
Ellis, a member at Meon Valley Golf & Country Club, has seen the highs and lows of amateur golf over the past four years.
After the death of his mother from cancer at the end of 2013, he decided to seek a new challenge in America, signing up for a four-year golf scholarship at Florida State, the alma mater of PGA Tour players Jonas Blixt, Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka, touted by many as America’s next big golf star.
Ellis has improved in the two years in America, where each week it is just a battle to get picked to play for the college based in Tallahassee.
County team-mate Darren Walkley played in the final group with Ellis when defending his Delhi Cup title at Hockley, a month ago.
Last year’s Hampshire Amateur champion said afterwards: ‘Harry is really sneaky long now.
‘He can crush it 320 yards off the tee if he wants to.
‘But he can also keep it on the fairway without losing too much length with his two-iron, which is very important.
‘If he can find his putting game when hitting it like that, I can see Harry winning something very, very big again this year.’
After winning the Lagonda by six shots, Ellis can approach the 121st British Amateur, at Royal Porthcawl, with plenty of confidence.
The first of the two qualifying rounds will be played today (Monday).
– ANDREW GRIFFIN