Yorkshire’s Alan Richardson proved himself the bionic man, as he came out on top in the England Golf Captains’ Tournament played over two days at Burhill Golf Club in Surrey.
Sporting two knee replacements, the Scarborough North Cliff member won the event with 81 Stableford points, finishing three ahead of Hugh Purvis from Long Ashton in Bristol with another Yorkshireman, Neil Windle from Wath-upon-Dearne, third after a 76.
Richardson, 57, his club’s captain in 2011, laid the foundation for his success by scoring 42 points in round one, before adding 39 in the second.
“I didn’t have much confidence going into the tournament,” he said. “I was pulling all my shots left but I had a lesson from my club professional Fraser Kelly and he put me right.
“I can’t thank him enough or Mark Andrews, the surgeon at Scarborough Hospital who operated on my knees. Before they were sorted out, I couldn’t complete 18 holes and had to use a buggy.
“I had the right knee done two years ago and the left early this year. I was sidelined for nine weeks, so this win is mind-blowing.”
Playing off a handicap of ten, Richardson made his presence felt from the start, covering the front nine in round one in level-par, including a birdie at the seventh after firing a 5-iron to one foot.
That gave him 23 points and he added a further 19 on the homeward stretch, despite bogeys at the closing four holes.
“I started the second round badly,” he continued. “I was in the last group out and feeling a bit edgy but I managed to score 17 points with one blob. So I gave myself a talking to at the turn.” It worked, as he came home with 22 points, finishing par-bogey-par-par.
“Neil pushed me all the way and kept me going. It was a good battle,” Richardson confirmed.
“I’ve won a couple of tournaments at my club and in the Scarborough Alliance but never anything like this,” he added. “Last year in this event, at West Lancs, I finished third, two points behind the winner.
“This is also prestigious for my club. I’ve already received a few messages of congratulations from members, even though I didn’t realise they knew anything about it. They said they had been following the scores on the England Golf website.”