From putting to cutting – Tom lifts Welsh title, then back to work next morning
From putting to cutting – Tom lifts Welsh title, then back to work next morning North Wales golfer Tom Matthews enjoyed the biggest win of his career by lifting the men’s Welsh Amateur Championship, then was back cutting the greens at his club early the following morning.
The 21-year-old, from Ruabon near Wrexham, is working as a greenkeeper at Aldersey Green golf club, just over the English border in Cheshire, which has been perfect for working on his own game as well. Having entered the Welsh Amateur at Pyle and Kenfig hoping to make the cut, achieving that with no shots to spare, he then went through the field to beat home club player David Phillips 3&1 in the final.
After returning North from South Wales, the former Wales Boys international hopes to use the win as a springboard to further international honours at men’s level.
“I was not expecting that much, I was just trying to make the cut and at one point even that was not looking promising,” admitted Matthews. “This season has gone from being nearly a wipe-out to getting my biggest title win.
“I made the cut on the number. My brother Harri was caddying for me and he said it was a different ball game from then on. It seemed different not having a card in my hand, just trying to make fewer mistakes than my opponents.
“In the final I felt strangely relaxed. David was the home player with all the support around him.
“Initially when we shook hands at the end it did not really sink in. It was only walking away with my Mum, Dad and brother that I started to realise I had just won one of the biggest events in Welsh golf.
“Up until then I would say my greatest honour in golf was being selected for the Wales teams, playing for your country meant more than county wins.”
Patience and effort have paid off, with long hours at the golf club for both work and play having a beneficial impact.
“I work from seven in the morning until three in the afternoon and then after that I can work on my golf until nine or ten at night,” he explained.
“My coach Jason Davies is the pro there as well, so when I finish work I do not have to travel to practice or to see my coach. It works well and they have been good to me.
“I would love to get into the Wales men’s team for the Home Internationals, it was one of my goals at the start of the year and it was beginning to look a little doubtful.
“I hope it will give me more belief going into the bigger events I the future, while I will also know I have been in that position before and come through.”
Luke Harries from Tenby won the Stroke Play event, beating fellow Wales international James Ashfield by one shot.
Ashfield shot a course record 64 in the second round and was also a losing semi-finalist in the Match Play, as was Ashburnham’s Aled Greville. Wales Golf Championship manager David Wilson said, “Congratulations to Tom who played really well throughout the match play stages to come away with the win, after a really good final with David enjoying plenty of home support.
“Pyle and Kenfig members and staff were clearly hoping for a home winner, but they can be proud of the condition of the course and the way the event was staged – all of which contributed to an excellent men’s Amateur Championship.”