England Golf: NCG meets...Alfie Plant
Want to know what pressure is?
Alfie Plant can tell you. It’s the final hole of the World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico.
The 24-year-old is standing over a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th. He knows if he holes it, England are guaranteed a medal at the Eisenhower Trophy.
In the history of the competition, the nation has never been on the podium. They’ve never been higher than sixth.
The scoreboard and the crowd tell him what’s at stake.
But it’s not just about him.
There are two other members of the team – Scott Gregory and Jamie Bower – who are depending on Plant making the putt to secure them a medal as well.
You learn things about yourself when the tension is at its highest.
Plant discovered he had nerves of steel.
He holed the putt, England claimed a silver medal and Plant capped a great year that also saw him lift the Lytham Trophy.
As he told NCG, though, he’s got one more major mountain to climb in the amateur sphere…
Congratulations on winning a silver medal!
The best finish before us was sixth and it’s the first time we’ve won a medal. It was a great end to the season.
All three of us have worked hard all year to get added to the team and it was nice to be rewarded.
Everyone is aware at the start of the year what tournaments and teams are up for grabs.
The three of us won three big tournaments (Gregory won the British Amateur and Bower the Brabazon Trophy) and it was probably good for the coaches to have such a strong selection to pick from.
It must have been a great thrill to come tied third in the individual standings too…
I had two low rounds to finish on. It was a boost to the team and a boost for me. The course was so different with the different types of grass and all the humidity.
We don’t play in that at all and it took a lot to get used to. Everyone put in a couple of scores and we couldn’t have got to where we did without everyone playing their part.
It all came down to the last hole. One of the Irish lads double bogeyed it and another bogeyed the last.
Jamie holed a putt from about 12 feet for a par and I holed a putt for birdie. It was like a four-shot swing there on the last hole.
I bogeyed 17 – I missed the green with a wedge – and there was a little bit of anger on the last. I wanted to finish on a high.
It was only that the guy I was playing with birdied the 18th that made me have a look at the scoreboard and I realised where we were.
That gave me a good indication, and the crowd as well, as to where we stood. I went through the routine and holed the putt.
Did you know exactly what the putt meant?
I definitely knew the putt was for a bronze medal. I didn’t know what the Irish were going to do on the last and we nicked silver.
I thought we were playing for bronze.
That must have been pretty nerve-wracking…
I probably was nervous but you just have to read the putt and I was so into the game.
With it being a team competition, you are playing for the other two as well.
I fancied it straightaway. It was pretty straight and up the hill.
If you are on your own and it’s the first round you don’t even think about it. The crowd was there, the scoreboard was there and it was great for something like that to happen.
It gives me lots of confidence. It’s a different type of pressure. As much as you are there for yourself, you are also there for the team.
There is all the hard work and if it hadn’t gone in we might have come fourth and we would have been so gutted.
To come away with silver in