England’s Clive Jones has just won the European senior men’s championship for the second year in a row, claiming the title by an impressive six shots.
He won the 2014 championship in Spain on his senior debut and has just retained the title at Pannonia in Hungary, where Stephen East, a fellow England senior international, was joint runner-up.
“It was fantastic to retain the title with such a good field and to experience the sportsmanship from each and every player,” said Jones, who is based in Toulouse, France.
He added: “Winning last year was not only unexpected and a bit of a shock, but it has opened up a whole new life of golf for me. I have met some old friends and made a lot of new ones. Playing for England last year was the most thrilling experience I have had since starting golf over 50 years ago.”
Jones describes his latest win as emotional, for two reasons: “Firstly, I had been out of golf for three months after an injury in February and secondly my poor performance at the English Open at West Hill and Worplesdon the week before. Finishing with a final round of 80 really dented my confidence so I was not feeling particularly happy coming into the European championship.”
However, he made the perfect start with a two-under par 70 opening round. On the second day he felt he was struggling to put the ball anywhere near the hole but a score of 73 meant he stayed in the hunt.
The final round started well but went downhill went Jones bogeyed the last four holes of the front nine. The 10th, however, proved a turning point: “My second shot really made my day. I was fortunate to run through the fairway bunker off a hooked tee-shot but the ball was lying poorly with my feet below the ball. I managed to hit the green with a six- iron and was close enough to almost make a birdie.”
After that he played in solidly, with good ball striking, and signed for a final round 74 and a 54-hole total of one over par.
Jones started playing as a child in Sussex, mostly at Nevill Golf Club. After some success, including a win as an amateur in the Sussex Open, he qualified for the European Tour in 1981.
“I set off to South Africa on the Sunshine Tour and have some wonderful memories of the two months I spent there. I met Gary Player, had a short chat with Bernhard Langer on putting, played a few rounds with David Frost, who was rookie of the year, and hit golf balls on the same practice ground as some of the great players at that time. Fond memories indeed.”
Before long, though, he realised the professional life was not for him and, signing off with another win in the Sussex Open, he returned to amateur ranks and a career in the building trade. Later, a desire for a new way of life, took him to France where he has now settled with his wife Christine – also his caddy! – and their two children.