Senior Men’s Amateur – Day Two: Many happy returns for Backhouse family

Ian Backhouse conquered the wind at the English Senior Men’s Amateur Championship – and revealed it meant cancelling plans to watch wife Katie blowing out the candles on her birthday cake!

The Sand Moor golfer comfortably made it through to the knockout stages at The Leicestershire Golf Club following rounds of 73 and 75.

In blustery conditions, Backhouse’s 36-hole score of +8 was only bettered by two other players.

Overnight leaders Stephen Creed from Stratford-on-Avon and Enville’s Paul Griffiths followed up rounds of 71 with a matching pair of 76s to finish the stroke play qualifying on +7.

Warwickshire’s Creed goes into the matchplay as top seed out of 32 players on the basis of a countback.

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Backhouse – in as third seed – could be a threat to the field after steady play on the opening two days.

However, his plans for the week have rather been turned on their head and it meant a tricky post-round call back to Yorkshire where the celebrations were preparing to get underway.

“It’s my wife’s birthday today,” confirmed Backhouse sheepishly.

“And, given it was tricky yesterday, I said to her last night, ‘I’ll be home tomorrow night with your present.

“This morning it was a case of ‘I love you, happy birthday and see you later’.

“In a minute I’ll need to say ‘see you tomorrow or see you when I see you!’”

When asked if his form might delay the celebrations all the way to the end of the championship, Backhouse said with a smile: “I’m not certain it will be Friday!

“She’ll be pleased for me but I’ll have to renege on my promise to get home tonight!”

Other notable names to make it safely through to the last 32 include England internationals Rupert Kellock (pictured below), Stephen Jensen, Paul Wharton and Stephen East.

When Kellock – the reigning English Senior Men’s Amateur Stroke Play champion – finished his round at lunchtime he was just inside the top 30. Rounds of 75 and 74 were admirable in the conditions.

By close of play – and with a swirling breeze whipping around the course – his scores were good enough to allow the Sunningdale golfer to climb into fourth spot on his own.

It was a stressful day for most of the players as they once again coped with a devilish combination of weather, firm fairways and fast-running greens and tried to make the cut which fell at +15.

The forecast for Wednesday’s round of 32 is for the wind to ease – and the rain to move in.

Backhouse is ready to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at him.

He added: “I played early yesterday and that was an advantage as it wasn’t as windy. The players in the afternoon had it more difficult.

“Today it’s been windy all day and that’s reflected in the scores and it was a case of hanging on and staying patient, I guess.

“I guess if I draw one of the top guys who play for England I could get stressed by that – we’ll see what happens. Anything can happen in match play and it will be easier than trying to stay patient and go for a score.

“Yorkshire grit? We’ll see. I’ll reflect on that when I’m thinking tonight about what will happen and what the weather is for tomorrow.”


Photography: Leaderboard