11 May 13
Southerndown is a delightful course located high above the British Channel with an excellent architectural pedigree. Nothing less than the sterling trio of HS Colt, H Fowler & T Simpson had a hand in creating course. The club is perhaps best known as the host of The Duncan Putter, named in honour of one the most esteemed golfing families in Wales. The Putter is the opening 72 hole tournament of the Great Britain and Ireland amateur schedule. Competitors will hope to get an early jump on impressing Walker Cup selectors by playing well.
The Duncan’s family background was in journalism. Lt Colonel Tony Duncan would likely have become a journalist, but his father, John Duncan, sold the business. After moving to Southerndown John would win the club championship on three occasions well after being crowned Welsh Amateur Champion twice. But it is to Tony Duncan with which we can trace the Putter. Inaugurated in 1959, the Duncan Putter has always enjoyed great support perhaps because of the Colonel’s impeccable reputation as an excellent golfer and meticulous organizer. Tony Duncan won four Welsh Amateur Championships, finished runner-up in the 1939 British Amateur and captained the 1953 Walker Cup side.
Past winners of the Duncan Putter include a bevy of wins by Peter McEvoy, himself a tw0-time winner of the Amateur Championship, Walker Cup player on five occasions and the winning captain of the 1999 and 2001 Walker Cups. Long time stalwart of British amateur golf, Gary Wolstenholme won the Putter three times during the 1990s. He bookended these victories with two British Amateur titles (1991 & 1999) and six appearances in the Walker Cup. Perhaps we are witnessing the beginnings of another legendary amateur career. This year’s champion was not only a surprise, but the victory marks the youngest winner of the event. 15 year old Welsh golfer from the Vale Resort, Tim Harry, claimed the prize after stellar golf over nearly four rounds. Tim Harry led after each day’s play and despite losing the lead midway through the final round, this product of the Welsh Golfing Union’s elite programme fought back to nip Ireland’s Shane McGlynn and English player Freddie Sheridan-Mills who closed with an impressive 64. Harry’s two rounds in the 60s might seem impressive, but it was round two’s 57 which peaks interest. A long delay with a ruling made it impossible for the field to finish the round, consequently only 15 holes counted!
Ted’s mother, Justine was on the bag during the weekend and is a steadying influence; reminding him that GCSE’s are just around the corner and these take precedent over Ted’s playing schedule. However, with a +1 handicap and sitting atop the Pinnacle Order of Merit (the top 7 are invited to represent Wales in the Home International Series held at Ganton), Ted may have dreams of stealing a spot on the Walker Cup team which come September will travel to Long Island to play the fabled National Golf Links against a formidable American squad – and indeed, why not?