Marcus Kinhaut, the 22 year old Swede, held off Matt Wallace, defending champion Eddie Pepperell and superb left handed rookie Bob MacIntyre, to win the British Masters at Hillside GC. He was excellent on the greens showing nerves of steel as he rolled in a 10 foot putt for birdie at the last after recovering from bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes. He said “my knees were shaking, my hands were shaking, I don’t know how I managed it”.
While the tournament, which dates back to 1946 and has been won by many of the top European players, suffered from its position in the calendar, the week before a major championship, and thus not putting out a strong field, it was lucky to attract a new 2 year sponsorship deal with Betfred after Sky Sports pulled out.
The good news is that next year the tournament will be moved to a better date July 30-August 2 2020, and will be hosted again by Lee Westwood at Close House, Northumberland. This is a repeat of the successful combination of host and venue in 2017 which attracted crowds of 70,000 during the week.
Lee Westwood said “It will be fun to host a second time, we’ll do some interesting things. Last time we were hitting balls off the Tyne Bridge and in St James Park football ground”
If the European Tour would only get behind this tournament and make it a Rolex Series event like the BMW PGA, also held in England, then it may return to its former prestige.