NEW English strokeplay champion Ben Stow was delighted to finally get his hands on a major amateur title before he launches his professional career next year.

The 23-year-old, from East Knoyle, near Warminster, became the second Wiltshire player to lift to the Brazabon Trophy in as many years as he rose to the top of the pile at Seaton Carew last weekend.

Stow, who is currently studying across the pond at the University of Kentucky and plays out of the Rushmore club, near Salisbury, sank two birdies on the final two holes of his fourth round on Saturday to finish 14 under par, a shot ahead of England teammates Ashley Chesters and Ryan Evans.

The Wiltshire champion, who earned a shock spot at last year’s Open Championship, is now toasting the biggest victory of his career so far.

“It was a brilliant tournament because there were so many of my England colleagues there – to win it was amazing,” said Stow.

“I had a few rough moments, especially on the third day, but everything just came together on the final day and I was playing fantastically well. I putted phenomenally well and holed some really long putts.

“It’s the biggest tournament that I’ve won. The only thing that comes close is the Hootie Trophy, which is a college event that I won in Charleston, in South Carolina (in March).

“It’s a big achievement for me because I wanted to win one of the major amateur competitions before I turned pro – I’ve finished in the top 10 and the top five many times but it’s great to go one better and win.

“I’ve got one more term left in America and then I’ll probably come back home for one more amateur season and then think about turning pro.

“I might look to go to the European Tour (Qualifying) School or there’s the Canadian Tour I could look at – there are a lot of options and we’ll see what’s best when I finish at Kentucky at Christmas.”

Derry Hill’s Jordan Smith (Bowood) was last year’s Brazabon champion and he and Stow are part of the six-strong England team flying out to Finland tomorrow for next week’s European Amateur Team Championships.