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New champion McLure has eyes set on England spot

16th September 2013

New champion McLure has eyes set on England spot

Tony McLure (image copyright John Thomson Photography)
Tony McLure, a familiar name within golf in his native north east, beat the rain and a clutch of internationals to win the Senior County Champions in style at Woodhall Spa.

The 55 year old former greenkeeper, playing out of Longhirst Hall in Northumberland, fired a superb second round 70 for 145, three over par, and a one shot winning margin from English Senior champion Richard Latham.

Despite the miserable conditions, cold with frequent rain and squally winds, McLure (image copyright John Thomson Photography) had 15 pars and two birdies on his card and was the only player in the field to beat par.

“This is very pleasing,” he said modestly after collecting the trophy. “I knew when I arrived here that if I could play well I'd be in the hunt. These conditions don't bother me. You just have to get on with it.”

Starting the day three strokes off the pace, he was out in 34 with a birdie at nine but he bogeyed ten when he under-clubbed and found a bunker.

But his second birdie came at the long 14th where he fired a three-wood 230 yards to the green and two-putted to pick up another shot. “That was the best three wood I've hit for a long time,” he added,

From there he parred his way in for a homeward 36, holing some key putts when needed while he also knew what the opposition were doing.

“I knew Richard had made a big number somewhere so I just tried to play the remaining holes in level par,” he said. “At the last I made a solid four after hitting a wedge from 56 yards to a foot. But I only missed one green and didn't miss a putt.”

Latham, looking to add the County Champions title to his English, Scottish and Lincolnshire senior crowns, took double bogey at the third he found sand. But after going out in 37 his real Achilles Heel came at the 13th where he hooked his tee shot into sand and could only splash out.

He found a sloping lie and sliced his third shot into trees, his ball finishing against a trunk. After taking a drop, he took three more for a triple bogey seven before signing for 74.

“It is very disappointing but that was a stupid lack of concentration,” he said. “If you have a lapse on this course you get punished and I know that more than anyone.

“But this has been a great year for me, I still have the Seniors Home Internationals to come and you can't win everything.”

McLure's future could mirror Latham's. He is also a first-year senior and despite a poor showing in the English Seniors has already made his mark with second place in the Welsh Seniors, equal third in the Scottish while he won the Northern Counties Seniors title.

“This win should move me up the seniors Order of Merit but my target is to represent my country,” he added. “Being a senior is the start of a new career for me and I'd love an England cap.”

For all scores and news on this weekend's County Champion of Champions tournament go to  

Notes for Readers:-
England Golf is the governing body for amateur golf in England.
England Golf was formed on 1st January 2012 following the merger of the English Golf Union Ltd. and the English Women's Golf Association and is one of the largest sports governing bodies in England looking after the interests of over 1,900 golf clubs and 770,000 men and women club members.

Responsible for the training of the country's top amateur golfers, England Golf also organises all the major English amateur championships. England Golf works to actively encourage new golfers and increase the continued interest and participation in golf through its golf development initiative ‘Get into Golf'.

England Golf is a member of The England Golf Partnership (EGP) together with the PGA and supported by the Golf Foundation and Sport England. Their Whole Sport Plan for golf identifies how England will achieve its vision of becoming ‘The Leading Golf Nation in the World by 2020' from grass roots right through to elite level.

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