Record-Breaking Rhys Captures Walton Heath Trophy

The 23-year-old finished at a record 18-under-par to lift the famous Walton Heath Trophy

Record-Breaking Rhys Captures Walton Heath Trophy
Image: Charlie Briscoe Knight

The 23-year-old finished at a record 18-under-par to lift the famous Walton Heath Trophy

Record-Breaking Rhys Captures Walton Heath Trophy

Rhys Nevin from Cheshire took a mighty step towards emulating fellow Englishman Tom Thurloway when he streaked clear of a top-class field to claim a record victory in the 2021 Walton Heath Trophy over the sun-drenched Surrey venue.

Three years ago, Thurloway captured the Walton Heath Trophy in impressive style before going on to win the English Amateur Championship at Formby the following week.

Now 23-year-old Nevin, who was grinning like an excited Cheshire cat following his tournament record 18-under-par total of 270 over the formidable Old and New Courses, will head to the ‘English’ at Moortown in Yorkshire next week bidding to follow in Thurloway’s footsteps.

By coincidence, Nevin was Thurloway’s playing partner in the final pairing in 2018 but inexperience on that occasion saw him shoot 82 in the final round.

However, he did enjoy a ringside seat of the new champion’s calm demeanour as he claimed the Michael Lunt Salver and clearly had no intention of missing out this time around.

With four rounds in the sixties, Nevin was able to cruise to a six-stroke win from Joe Sullivan of Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club, who closed with a fine round of 67.

Nevin, an All-American at the University of Tennessee before graduating in politics and sociology this year, saved his best for last with a 66 over the Old – the best score of the final round – to add to his earlier 67,68 and 69 to show his rivals a clean pair of heels.

Image: Charlie Briscoe Knight

“This is a very special day,” declared Nevin, from the Sandiway club. “It’s rare that everything comes together but this week it did and to create the scoring record adds to the sense of satisfaction.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing here. It is one of the best amateur tournaments in the country and I love both courses. The trophy itself is impressive and there are a lot of people who won it before me who have gone on to achieve great things. That makes me very proud.”

Nevin added: “I am going to savour this for a few days before going to the English Amateur. What Tom did three years ago was amazing and he’s a great player. I think watching how he managed the closing holes here in 2018, with the pressure and a lot of Members out on the course, helped me today. I knew what to expect this time.”

East Sussex’s Sullivan laid claim to the runner-up berth thanks to a spectacular pair of back-to-back eagles at the 13th and 14th in a fourth round 67.

Dan Bradbury of Wakefield finished third one stroke behind Sullivan on 277 while Harvey Byers delivered a strong display for the host club by securing a tie for 10th, helped by a third round 66 over the New.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5