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Amateur Golf: Fond memories for Bonallack

By Bill Meredith - Electronic Telegraph

SIR Michael Bonallack, secretary of the R & A, is thoroughly enjoying his visit to the Amateur Championship at Royal County Down, a course which holds fond memories for him.

Back in 1970, he won his record fifth Amateur title over these links and recalls his particular affection for the 18th hole. It was here that Bonallack, after being three down to American Bill Hyndman, pulled the margin back to one and then went on to win by 8 and 7.

Bonallack, who retires as secretary this autumn and takes over as captain of the R & A, is glad he is not playing this year, though. Those six-hour rounds on the first day were a trial of stamina as well as skill.

"I think the trouble was that a lot of the players were not used to tackling such a tough course," explains Bonallack. "When the wind got up, there were a lot of lost balls."

Another factor, perhaps, was the par-five first hole of 506 yards, which took a long time to play, and the 276-yard, par-four 16th, which was in reach for the stronger drivers and caused a backlog on the tee.