Cianchetti claims South of England Amateur

Luca Cianchetti was successful in his first start in the prestigious amateur event

Walton Heath
Both courses at Walton Heath are inside Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland rankings 2015/16
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Luca Cianchetti came, saw and conquered in his first appearance in the South of England Open Amateur Championship, which was staged at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey

Luca Cianchetti came, saw and conquered in his first appearance in the South of England Open Amateur Championship, which was staged at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey.

The 20-year-old Italian shot rounds of 66 and 72 for a five-under-par 283 total on the final day of the 72-hole competition to overtake runaway 36-hole leader Michael Saunders, a former Kent county champion.

Saunders had opened up with a brace of 69s across Walton Heath's iconic Old and New Courses but could not maintain his form, and finished with a pair of 73s to concede the coveted title and the Michael Lunt Trophy by just one stroke.

And Riccardo Michelini, a student at San Diego State, completed an unexpected Italian double when he tied for fifth place after three days of high-octane competition across running fairways and fast greens.

Defending champion Adam Chapman shot a final-round 69 - second lowest on the day – to finish tied for seventh on 289, one over par.

The South of England Championship attracts a top-class field of amateur golfers from across the world.

The 72-hole stroke play event takes place over both the Old and New courses at Walton Heath in Tadworth, Surrey and consists of four rounds of golf with a cut after 36 holes.

Walton Heath has played host to a series of high-profile events since being founded in 1903, including the 1981 Ryder Cup, five European Opens and the Senior Open Championship in 2011.

It's also played host to US Open qualifying since 2005.

Both courses are ranked inside the top 50 in Golf Monthly's most recent Top 100 UK & Ireland Golf Courses ratings.

South of England Open Amateur Championship results:

1) Luca Cianchetti (Italy) - 71 - 74 - 66 - 72 = 283 2) Michael Saunders (England) - 69 - 69 - 73 - 73 = 284 T3) Steven Robins (England) 73 - 73 - 67 - 72 = 285 T3) Jake Burnage (England) - 76 - 69 - 67 - 73 = 285 T5) Josh Hilleard (England) - 73 - 75 - 68 - 72 = 288

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x