Long-standing member makes local knowledge count
Worpledon's Ian Attoe lived his dream by winning the English Senior Men’s Amateur Championship on his home course.
Attoe, a member of Worplesdon for 40 years, clawed by a two-shot deficit ahead of the final round by firing a one-over 72 to win by three shots from Windermere’s Andrew Atkinson.
Afterwards, a delighted Attoe revealed that the victory had been a long time in the making.
“It’s what I gave up work for,” said the former golf club secretary, who left his job in April to concentrate on playing seniors golf. “You hope you can win one event in a year and it’s beyond your wildest dreams you will win the English seniors - except you do dream!”
His plan started to formulate two years ago when it was announced that Worplesdon and West Hill in Surrey would host the championship. “I started thinking about it and that it had to be an advantage to play on your own course,” he recalled - and so it proved.
Holding a two-shot lead going into the final round, Beaconsfield man Tim Whittaker was caught by Attoe and Atkinson after just five holes.
The duo then leap-frogged Whittaker at the par-3 tenth before Attoe made his move, playing the next four holes in one-under to build a three-shot lead coming down the stretch.
Nerves then appeared to get to the host club player as he topped shots on both the par-5 15th and short 16th.
“I looked at the scoreboard after 14 and saw I had a three-shot lead and tried to play defensively,” admitted Attoe. “I had a couple of quick swings but my putting stood up.”
Even so, he managed to salvage a birdie and a bogey from those holes to keep his nose in front and, on the 17th, he fired a long drive into the perfect position to attack the green, eventually coming up just short with a birdie attempt.
On the 18th, he fired his approach through the green but, again, managed to recover the situation well, paying a lovely little pitch when finished close to the pin to seal his victory.
“I wanted to play well for the members who walked round,” he admitted. “I didn’t want to let them down.”
Attoe also credited local knowledge with helping him across the finishing line, in particular his birdies on three of the par-5s.
Sharing third place, a further shot adrift of runner-up Atkinson, were former champion Chris Reynolds of Littlestone and Newbury & Crookham’s David Niven. Meanwhile, the low score of the day was provided by Phil Sewell of Castle Royle, who went round in two-under 69 to share 13th place.