‘Course’ for joy as Tony upstages golf pro son

TONY Smith eclipsed the exploits of his golf professional son Mark as he landed a first-ever major at Stamford with victory in the Lowe Trophy.

And the 73-year-old from Stalybridge explained how he had been given a motivational talk by his son, the Stamford pro, on the morning of the major.

Tony, a retired long distance lorry driver, explained: “Mark said he wanted me to excel by going out and winning a major.

Major winner Tony Smith

“He told me to concentrate on my game, especially his putting.”

It worked as Tony, an early starter at 7.30am, shot a brilliant seven-under-par nett 63.

Tony praised playing partner Paul Laing, from Glossop Caravans, adding: “It was a really nice day and we had an enjoyable game of golf.

“I was not thinking about the score and was three-under-par on the outward nine and thought I was level par.

“It was only at the end Paul told me I had 63, adding he didn’t mention it earlier because he didn’t want to put me off.”

Tony, whose handicap has been cut from 21 to 18 after his victory, scored six gross pars which were the key to his victory.

It was through Mark’s involvement in golf that Tony took up the sport in his early 50s.

Tony said: “I knew nothing about golf and the first course I went on was at Hillside where Mark was competing in the British Junior Open.

“I must have learned about 100 rules in half a day watching Mark play a lad from Denmark.

Mark, who had been junior captain at Fairfield, offered to teach his dad and took him to the driving range.

“Mark gave me a couple of lessons. but it was not easy and we fell out. It was like teaching your son to drive but the other way round,” he explained.

Tony initially joined Fairfield and later moved to Brookdale where many of his friends were members.

“I help Mark in the shop at Stamford and, as I was spending most of my time here, Mark suggested I joined Stamford which was 13 years ago,” he said.

Tony’s winning return was 84-21-63 while runners-up spot went to Andrew Angelone (74-10-64).

Third was John Etchells (82-16-66) on the card from Brian Thomas (75-9=66) and Carl Varey (72-6-66).

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