Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) golfer George Bloor suffered heartache in the English Amateur Championship at the weekend – but could nevertheless reflect on one of the best performances of his career to date.
The 20-year-old Chapel-en-le Frith player (pictured right) finished second in the prestigious event at Ganton Golf Club, near Scarborough.
But the Cavendish Golf Club player was left to rue what might have been as he fell victim to a fightback from Yorkshire player and eventual champion Dan Brown in an exciting final.
George was four up in the matchplay event against his good friend after 26 holes, but was put under immense pressure by some excellent golf from his opponent to end up losing 2down.
Masham player Brown received immediate congratulations from fellow Yorkshireman, the 2007 English Amateur champion and the 2016 Masters champion, Danny Willett.
The 36-hole final was an enthralling affair, played out before a very large crowd of spectators.
In the morning 18 holes, the lead changed hands repeatedly as the pair traded birdies, an eagle and even a few ragged shots, but Bloor came in for lunch 1up.
He pushed on in the afternoon, winning the second with a par, the third with a birdie and then stringing a series of pars together to get to four up after eight.
Brown won his first hole of the afternoon session on the ninth, where he fired a great second straight at the pin. He pulled back another on the 11th but lost the 12th to a par after his second shot was bunkered.
It was then that Brown moved up a gear, having birdies on the 13th, the 14th and also winning the 16th, 17th and 18th.
DIS golf coach Steve Astle said: “It was an unbelievable effort from George in a field of 288 of England’s best players, including two of the world’s top 10 and over 20 England internationals.
“All three DIS golfers made the top 64 matchplay stage, with Ryan Wesselingh taking down an England International in the first round and Cameron Shaw shooting a 10-birdie 66 that also got him in to the matchplay stage.
“I know George is a little disappointed, but this has pushed up him up another level and his achievement allows him to match his progress with those of future major winners and the Team GB golfers getting on the plane to Rio. This should also secure a place in the England training squad for next season.”
George, also on the ICON bursary programme had earlier beaten Jack Singh Brar (4/2) and Jamie Mist (3/2) in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
His next competition is next week’s European Amateur Championship.
Meanwhile, fellow DIS and ICON athletes have secured more success at the British Swimming Summer Championships at Pond’s Forge, Sheffield.
Imogen Clark, 17, from Morton (pictured below), took silver in the 100m breaststroke (Women’s 17-18 years) and a bronze in the 50m butterfly (Women’s 17-18 years).
Jamie Ingram, 18, from South Wingfield collected silver in the 100m butterfly (Men’s 17-18 years) in a personal best time of 54.86secs.
And Sarah Vasey came within an agonising 400ths of a second of winning gold but had to be satisfied with silver in a time of 1.08.57 in the 100m breaststroke (Women’s 19-plus).
She also posted a season’s best in the 200IM and helped club City of Derby, finish just outside the medals in a Derbyshire record time of 3.49.11 in the 4 x100m freestyle relay.
On the breaststroke leg, and alongside Amy Grant (butterfly), Harriet Cooper (freestyle) and Ellie Baldwin (backstroke), the Allestree swimmer also picked up a silver medal in the 4×100 100 medley relay final.
The time of 4.11.43 was eight seconds faster than the previous county record, three seconds behind Stockport Metro and five ahead of Mount Kelly.
All the athletes have been given extensive support through expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes, physiotherapy and nutritional and lifestyle advice as part of the DIS programme.
Go to www.derbyhsiresport.co.uk/dis to find out more about the support offered.
They are also on the ICON Bursary programme, which is currently open for 2016-17 applications.