First in a series of articles reflecting on golfing success in our area over the 2021 summer…
THE Walton Heath Trophy is one of the top amateur competitions in the UK, attracting players from far and wide and a former winner is recent Masters Champion Danny Willett.
Rhys Nevin from Sandiway Golf Club, who has been a regular on Cheshire teams at all levels and a previous Cheshire Boys Champion, was a glorious winner this time round.
He had just finished his scholarship in the USA and had enjoyed competing for the county in matches and competitions on his return to Cheshire.
And he was unstoppable in the 72-hole event played over the Old and New Courses at Walton Heath, which are both in the top 50 UK and Ireland rankings.
Walton Heath is famous for its rich golfing and political history and the quality of its two exceptionally challenging heathland layouts, described by Jack Nicklaus as ‘wonderfully pure’.
Rhys has become part of their history with his fantastic four rounds of 67, 68, 69 and 66 for an 18-under par return of 270.
They included 24 birdies and left him well clear of the field by six shots, leaving in his wake J Sullivan (Royal Ashdown Forest) 276 and D Bradbury (Wakefield) 277.
The other top two Cheshire players were Jack Brooks (The Mere) and Remy Miller (Prestbury) who tied in 24th place on 289.
Rhys said: “I have played well at Walton Heath in the past, but there were always little flaws in my game that prevented me from contending.
“This time it just all came together and to win such a prestigious trophy is an honour.
“The hard work that I’ve put in the last few years at the University of Tennessee, and the time spent in the last couple of months with my coach, Dan Whittaker, allowed my game to stand up well under pressure.
“Amateur golf is not only very time consuming and requires a lot of support in all areas, but it’s very expensive.
“I have played amateur golf at a high level for years now and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the support of my family, especially my mum and dad.
“My mum was going to travel down for the final day but I told her not to because I didn’t want to change anything from the first two days!
“But now I have that first big win, I will definitely let her come watch in the future!
“I have had a successful amateur career but one thing that was missing was a big win. My main focus the past year has been to win.
“So to finally prove to myself I can do it is very satisfying. Thanks to Sandiway Golf Club, Hartford Golf Club, and the Cheshire Golf Union for their support over the years.”