Former Titleist sales manager Paul Wharton won the Welsh Open Seniors in Wrexham, thanks to a decision five years ago to take the clubs back out of the garage and onto the course.
The 58-year-old was a member of the England elite squad in the 90s, before putting golf on the backburner personally while continuing to be involved professionally.
Instead he helped his children reach the top of the water-skiing tree, both daughter Charlotte and son Christopher claiming Junior European honours, while Charlotte was also junior world champion and in the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest water-skier towed by a rowing eight.
It took a final round 69, sparked by a birdie and eagle at the start of his back nine, which put Wharton into a play-off with fellow Englishman Richard Jones. A birdie two at the first play-off hole was enough to claim the title.
“I’m extremely chuffed,” he admitted. “You wonder if you are going to win again, I did not put in a competitive card from 1995 until 2014 as it took a lot to take the kids round to events and training.
“When they left home my wife told me to get the clubs out of the garage and start playing again. She is Welsh, so she was very happy with this win as well.
“I have been playing well, getting solid results, but when I fell off the lead I thought I was just playing for a good finish.
“Then a birdie on 11 and eagle on 12 meant I was back in it and went into the play-off on the back of a good last nine holes.
“It is difficult to get back to the level I played in the 90s when I made the England elite squad two years running, but I retired from working in sales with Titleist last July and that has given me some more time.
“Moving to Woodhall Spa has also helped because there are such good facilities and other good players to drive each other on.”
Wharton was also helped by the quality of the Wrexham course, as the staff got it in excellent condition after some mixed weather.
“I could not believe the course was open when I arrived because of the weather on the journey up,” said Wharton.
“It was in excellent condition, the greens were nice and the staff did a great job to get it in that shape considering how much it had rained.
“The event was also excellently run by Wales Golf, the staff were on the ball – all the golf unions do a really good job of running these events.”
Now Wharton is looking forward to competing in the British Seniors for the first time. The highest placed Welsh competitor was Colin Jones of West Sussex who was tied fifth.
Wales Golf Championships manager David Wilson added, “Congratulations to Paul, a strong final back nine and then a birdie on the first play-off hole was impressive.
“Congratulations also to Wrexham golf club who put on an excellent event with the course in fabulous condition after some difficult weather. We could not run these events without the help of the staff and volunteers.
“It has also been an excellent week for Wrexham Golf Club on the back of winning the Welsh Ladies Team Championships last weekend.”