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