YORKSHIRE'S Jonathan Thomson made an electrifying start to his final round before finishing a highly creditable second in the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship in Melbourne.
The Lindrick player, one shot behind world No 8 Aaron Wise, of the United States, at the start of the final round at Royal Melbourne's West Course, produced three consecutive birdies.
It moved him one ahead of Wise, who had also opened with a birdie, but Thomson took a double bogey at the fourth, and Wise's bogey six meant the pair were tied at the top.
"I started the day extremely well and felt very good," said Thomson. "Then I came unstuck really on the fourth hole. I hit my drive right and ended up in a bush so had to take relief.
"I eventually got it on the green for four and three-putted from around 20 feet, which wasn't great, so made double."
By the turn the Yorkshire county player had slipped four back, bogeying six and seven while the American birdied six and eight.
Wise's stumble at the 10th, for his second bogey of the day, saw the gap shrink to three, but when he subsequently bogeyed the next Thomson could not take advantage, also taking five.
The deficit returned to four shots when Wise birdied the 12th and Thomson's birdie at the 15th was answered in kind.
Undeterred, Thomson birdied the 16th and when Wise bogeyed the 17th the gap was down to two with one to play.
Wise held his nerve, matching Thomson's par for a 283 winning total (67 77 68 71), and might reflect that his hole-in-one on the fifth on day one laid the foundations for his ultimate victory.
"In the middle of my round I was playing okay, but just didn't have anything go my way," added Thomson. "I just had too sit patient out there as this course is very tough, and if you try and chase it you have had it.
"But I'm very pleased with the start to the season. I have been working really hard over the winter months and it's great too see it's starting too pay off.
"It was also good to play with the world No 8 who, yes, I did lose too, but I gave him a great run for his money. This also gives you a big confidence booster.
"The one thing I was extremely pleased with is how strong I finished.. The last three holes at Royal Melbourne aren't for the faint-hearted, let's put it that way.
"I managed to birdie the 16th, which is a 225-yard par-3 that plays into wind, and then just came up shy on 17 for birdie.
"On the last I hit a monster drive on the tiger line and again just missed for birdie there, but all in all a great end to a great week. Onwards now and I will carry on to work hard and try to keep moving forward."
Thomson (69 76 68 72) placed fourth in the European Amateur last year and also won the George Henriques salver awarded to the leading Great Britain & Ireland player aged under 20 in the Brabazon Trophy.
He amassed 23 birdies during his four rounds in Melbourne.
Thomson is competing Down Under as part of England Golf's men's squad and has three more events to play - the Australian Men's Amateur, the Lake Macquarie Amateur, and the New South Wales Amateur - before heading for home in February.
By that stage Yorkshire will have a second representative on tour with the England Golf men's squad in Meltham's Jamie Bower.
County champion Bower will head for South Africa at the end of this month where he will compete in the Gauteng North Stroke Play, the South African Stroke Play, the African Open, the Southern Cape Open Stroke Play, the Cape Province Open and the South African Amateur.