June 29, 2018.
Wales squad golfer Archie Davies enjoyed the best win of his career so far with victory at the Irish Boys Championship in Belfast.
The 17-year-old, from Carlisle, overcame a two-stroke deficit to win at Belvoir Park with a closing round of 69, after going into the final round trailing Theo Boulet from France.
Davies benefitted from Boulet’s errors on the back nine to take the title. Boulet had to settle for second while Joseph Byrne from Baltinglass matched Davies’ 69 to finish third on four under.
Boulet had a three-shot cushion when he birdied the 10th but he then endured a miserable run that saw him drop five shots in the next four holes. Davies plotted his way to par after par and it was enough to give him the lead with five holes remaining.
Bunkered at the long par-three 16th, Davies faced an awkward up and down with his ball against the face. It took a brave shot to get close from his position and Davies showed the courage of a champion, splashing out with full commitment before watching his ball roll within inches of the cup.
What followed at the demanding 17th was every bit as impressive. Down the left-hand side with his tee shot, his approach shot carried just far enough to make the green and from 20 feet he ratted the back of the cup for his only birdie of the back nine.
“It came off a bit quick on the face but it hit the back of the hole and went in, which is always nice,” said Davies describing his putt on 17. Davies had the comfort of a three-stroke lead playing the last.
“I wasn’t really playing my best and I just ground it out,” Davies said of his final round. A winner of the North Wales Boys in May, his victory at Belvoir is another significant step.
“This tops it,” he said. “It’s the best golf I’ve played and definitely the lowest four rounds in a row I’ve had in a tournament.”
Only three players broke par for the championship, an indication of how challenging the course had become during an exceptional spell of hot weather. The rock hard surfaces demanded control and precision. Putting was a test of nerve and skill.
Davies’ approach was measured all through: “Keep calm, a good attitude and see where it took me.
“I knew if I was a couple behind coming into the last couple of holes I’d have to push but luckily Theo came back a little bit so it was more just keeping calm.”
Wales Golf director of performance Gillian O’Leary congratulated Davies, saying, “This win has been coming, he won the North Wales Boys and played well in the Brabazon Trophy so he had good performances in the run-up.
“He works really hard on his game and got a lot out of our pre-season tournament in Portugal where he had the chance to play with professionals Jack Davidson and Stuart Manley.
“He took his opportunity to pick their brains there and said afterwards it was really beneficial for him.
“He is at school in England so he works remotely with our performance team, having only become part of the full squad this year.”