Matty pipped at post for major title
Last updated at 10:15, Monday, 20 August 2012
THE reputation of being one of the best junior golfers in Britain is a tough one to live up to, but a teenager from Hexham Golf Club is thriving under the pressure.
Matty Lamb (14) continues to excel in national competitions, missing out on the English Boys U14 Open Championship by just two strokes at the weekend.
A victory would have given the Queen Elizabeth High School student a rare double, coming just weeks after clinching the Scottish U14 Open Championship.
It has been a remarkable 2012 for Matty who began with a unprecedented double by winning both the U16 and U19 Northumberland County Schools Golf Championships.
Although Matty had set his sights high prior to the season starting, he admitted he has surpassed his own expectations.
He said: “At the start of the season I wanted to do well in the Scottish and English Championships, but I never really expected to do so well and I have surprised myself.
“It was good to finish as runner-up and first Brit in the English, especially when there was such a good field which is probably the best in Europe.”
Playing for the Reid Trophy at Blackwell Golf Club in Worcestershire in the English Boys, Matty was in a field of four challenging for top honours.
In the final round, he put pressure on leader Inigo Lopez-Pizarro, of Spain, with three successive birdies from the seventh. Further birdies on the 12th, 14th and 17th meant that the pair were neck and neck on the final hole.
The young Spaniard came out on top as he birdied the 18th, Matty bogeying to see him miss out on another national trophy by just two strokes.
He said: “I was nervous and I probably should have won it. I was leading after 12 but then I missed a few putts and dropped lots of shots.
“There was a bit of disappointment that I didn’t win but I would have definitely taken that result at the start of the tournament as I had only targeted a top five to top 10.”
Already impressing throughout the year, Matty will now compete in the North of England Boys Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship in Harrogate next week. Another step on the path to a fruitful career, he hopes.
He said: “If I keep finishing highly at national competitions, I want to keep going and I want to be a professional golfer.”
One person who believes Matty has the capabilities to succeed is his coach Andy Paisley, the golf professional at Hexham.
Andy has worked with the teenager for the past three years and is impressed with the amount of work Matty puts in down at the course.
The youngster will often spend five to six hours a day at the Spital Park club, and Andy said the recent accolades that came his way were just rewards for his efforts.
He said: “Matty has achieved what he has through a combination of talent and really good, hard work.
“He has a lot of knowledge for someone his age and he knows how to train himself at a really high level which, for a 14-year-old, is very rare.
“He is a perfect pupil to teach because he does everything you ask, and he does it well. He is down here more than me and I work here!
“Matty has the potential to be a Tour player and go as far as he wants, and he is as good a prospect I have seen for a very long time.”
Despite all of his success, Matty is a down to earth character whose feet are firmly on the ground.
And this is one of the qualities which gives his family most pride when they watch him go around the various golf courses.
Dad Darren said: “One of the biggest compliments I heard from members of the club where the English Boys was played was not that Matty played well, but that he conducted himself well and always with a smile on his face.
“When he can smile and congratulate his opponent who has just pipped him to the title, then that is pretty special and we are more proud of that.”
First published at 09:04, Monday, 20 August 2012
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk
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So successful was the fund-raising that when all the debts were cleared more than £100 was left in the fund.
The hall could now be used by the town for all manner of social and public functions.