JOSH Gray was full of joy as he became the first Garon Park Golf Club member to clinch the Essex Boys Championship.

The prestigious event, which dates back to 1932 and boasts impressive names such as Sir Michael Bonallack carved into the trophy, was held at Rochford Golf Club.

And Gray admitted he was surprised to beat a tough field and come out on top - by a three shot margin - in his first Essex Boys Championship appearance.

Gray said: “I was surprised to win, to be honest.

“I don’t think it has properly sunk in yet but I am so happy as it is something I have always wanted to play in.

“In the first round I shot level par and was two behind but I felt confident going into the second round and holed some big putts on the 15th and 16th to keep my round going and came into the clubhouse leading by five shots.

“Once the final group came in it was officially announced I had won by three shots.

“I was happy to have won the trophy, which is one of the oldest trophies in Essex Golf, and I am honoured to have my name on the trophy with some of the best players in Essex.”

The 17-year-old will compete in the Champion of Champions contest, which takes place at Woodhall Spa on Saturday.

And the three-handicapper was able to claim a double victory as he followed up his triumph by winning the Essex Boys Foursomes event at Gosfield Lake.

Gray, who was the 2017 junior captain, was joined by William Dove on the course.

The duo won by three shots and Dove felt registering par on the 14th hole was crucial.

Dove, who is this year’s junior captain, said: “A particular high point was our par on the 14th.

“After I found the fairway off the tee, we were faced with an incredibly tough 170 yard approach into the difficult par four, a green guarded by water.

“Josh hit the approach slightly left and it clattered into a tree behind the green and for a moment we believed our chance to be over.

“We got a great break finding our ball next to the tree and with a delicate chip into the downward slope of the green I landed the shot two feet from the hole and Josh finished off the hole with an eyebrow-raising par.

“From then on in, we had a feeling this could be our day.”

Thanks to their success, Gray and Dove were invited to represent Essex in the South of England Foursomes, which was held at Royal Norwich Golf Club, and they claimed the best afternoon score to finish on level par.