Golfer Martin Young narrowly misses out at British Seniors Open at Sunningdale
RINGWOOD'S Martin Young made a brave attempt to make the cut after qualifying for the British Seniors Open at Sunningdale.
But nothing could spoil the Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club member's weekend even after narrowly missing out by just three shots.
The 51-year-old was basking in the glorious sunshine by the famous 18th hole of Sunningdale's Old Course.
And not even the shade of the striking Oak tree framing the hole against the equally famous clubhouse could eclipse the former county captain's pride after testing himself against some of the legends of the European Tour.
Young, who won the English Mid-Am title as the leading over 35s title back in 2006, said: "I have had a fantastic experience this week.
"I have wanted to test myself at this level – I came close at the European Seniors Tour Qualifying School at the start of last year, just missing out by a couple of places.
"But ever since I knew the British Seniors was coming to Sunningdale, I have had this event in my mind.
"I struck the ball well all week – but the putter was just not my friend on Thursday and Friday.
"If I had putted anything like I am capable of, I think I could definitely have made the cut.
"Getting to be on the putting green alongside some of the greats of the game is a memory I will always have.
"I got to meet one of my heroes Ernie Els on the 18th during practice. He was just class.
"But I have not finished yet. I will go to Qualifying School again – if the Legends Tour hold another one over the winter.
"There is also talk that England Golf will reduce the seniors' age limit from 55 to 50, which would give me more targets to play in as an amateur – if I don't manage to get a Legends Tour card, which would mean I would then turn pro.
"The youngsters have been pushing me in the county set-up – I am still in the first-team," joked Young, who four years ago led Hampshire to their first English County Championship since Justin Rose was in the team back in 1996.
While Young has plenty of pedigree as an amateur – he is the only player to complete the Hampshire Slam winning all four men's titles in 2014 – his realistic target was to make the cut.
As they turned for home during the final round, Young hit a spectator and ended up in the sand, forcing him to finish with a five and a final round score of 73.
A score of 70 would have seen him make the cut in his first professional event.
Hampshire captain Neil Dawson, who caddied for Young all week, was full of praise for the veteran, who has now played for the county in four different decades in the South East League.
Dawson said: "That's the best I have seen Martin hit the ball in the years I have known him.
"On the range next to the Legends of the game, he did not look out of place for one second.
"His ball-striking was simply awesome, and I was so proud to stand alongside him and watch."