IT was a case of third time lucky for Lancashire’s Geoff Harris when he won the English Mid-Amateur Championship, at The Leicestershire Golf Club.
The 37-year-old, from Formby GC, finished third at Beau Desert in 2017 and second to Nick Day last year at Long Ashton.
But this time the left-hander, who ended Gary Wolstenholme’s dream of finally landing the English Amateur at Walton Heath in 2002, finally got his hands on the Logan Trophy.
The former Reading Golf Club member closed with a three-under par 67 to pip last year’s winner by a single shot after posting a total of five-under.
Harris, who spent four successful years in the USA playing for Dominion University, in Virginia, started the final round level with Day after opening rounds of 68 and 70.
But the ex-England A squad member immediately went ahead with a birdie on the second where he hit an eight-iron into four feet.
Harris, who works as England’s Golf Coast manager promoting the North West’s top links courses, dropped a shot with a three-putt at the fourth.
But he then birdied the 10th, 12th and 13th before finally finishing his round with five straight pars.
Harris said: “I must admit I’m more relieved that anything else.
“After finishing third at Beau Desert two years ago, and then a distant second to Nick last year at Long Ashton, I was beginning to wonder if my chance had gone.
“I played very nicely,” added the new champion, who won once on the PGA EuroPro Tour back in 2004, before being reinstated as an amateur.
“The golf course was in fantastic condition but it was pretty firm and fast, so you had to be careful where you hit it.
“I just tried to keep in the play as best as I could and see if I could get a couple of putts to drop.
“I only hit one driver (in the final round) and it worked very nicely. I’m delighted to get my name on a trophy as prestigious as this one.”
The highlight of Harris’ golf days in the States was playing in the 2002 Palmer Cup at Doonbeg, against the likes of Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan and Nick Watney, DJ Trahan and Troy Mattesson, who all went on to win on the PGA Tour.
Thirty-nine-year-old Day, from Henbury GC, in Gloucestershire, made Harris work all the way before finally relinquishing the title he won by nine shots 12 months ago.
Day went into the last round tied with Harris and Pleasington’s Calum Metcalfe after two opening rounds of 69 and went on to birdie both the fourth and the sixth before 12 consecutive pars from the seventh saw him post a 68.
That left him one shot behind the winner on four-under after totalling 206 for three rounds.
Dorset’s David Cook, from Parkstone GC, also fired a closing 68 to finish alone in third place a further shot back, while Metcalfe added a 70 to the course record 65 he carded in the second round to secure fourth place another shot further behind.
American William Smith and Oliver Willson, from Longcliffe, both closed with level par 70s to finish fifth and sixth respectively, while Blankney’s Craig Toyne dropped back to eighth place with a 74.