Senior Men’s Amateur – Final Day: Dapper Kellock makes it two-in-a-row

Rupert Kellock turned on the style to fend off the chasing pack and retain his English Senior Men’s Stroke Play title.

Wearing natty plus fours, the Sunningdale golfer’s play was as elegant as his dress sense allowing him to sweep to a one-shot victory over close friend and rival Ian Attoe.

A level par round of 69 at Blackmoor Golf Club saw Kellock finish with a 54-hole aggregate of 210 (+1).

Kellock was always there or thereabouts on days one and two having carded a one over par 70 at Blackmoor in the opening round and level par at Army Golf Club on day two.

His steady play and the motto he jokingly adopted for the week – ‘Stay safe, swing smooth, think birdies’ – served him well!

With this win the 60-year-old becomes the fifth man in the tournament’s history to win back-to-back titles. Attoe, Roy Smethurst, Doug Arnold and Alan Squires also achieved that feat.

At the start of the day, Kellock – a former Royal Green Jacket – was one behind leaders Richard Jones and Trevor Foster.

But he had the advantage of joining them in the final group to keep an eye on their progress and then went on to play the best golf of the trio.

In the end, Jones was two adrift of the winning total on +3 alongside former Amateur Champion Warren Bladon and Steve Jensen from The Wisley. Foster finished a further two shots off the pace.

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After getting his hands on the silver rosebowl which he had reluctantly handed over earlier in the week, Kellock spoke of his pride at retaining his national title.

“I’m obviously delighted,” he said.

“To win anything at the age of 60 is fantastic – to win the national title is very, very special. I’m dead chuffed as always.

“I felt very comfortable, but it was a lot tighter than last year.

“I wasn’t sure if I had a one-shot lead playing the last or was level.

“Everyone, when they play golf, is nervous – if you’re not nervous inside there’s something wrong with you.

“I try not to get too excited. What happens, happens. There’s no point worrying. The next shot is the most important one.”

Three birdies, three bogeys and no real dramas in his round allowed Kellock to edge ahead of Attoe in the final stretch.

“Ian is a fierce competitor, “ added the champion.

“He’s a very good friend and it’s a delight to beat him.

“You’re always looking for him on the scoreboard and if you’re ahead of him you know you’re near the top.”

And what about the choice of dress for the final round which started in heavy rain, but finished with the sun trying to poke from behind the clouds?

“The natural thing to wear I’d suggest in these conditions .

“It was 25 degrees yesterday, 12 degrees today. Plus fours work well in the rain, you don’t need to worry about waterproofs or trousers getting wet and I feel very comfortable wearing them and it seems to do the trick.”

For three-times winner Attoe, it was another near miss after running Kellock close last year at Woodhall Spa.

“I’ve just said to Rupert I want the trophy back next year. I wanted it badly this year. The way I played on Wednesday I thought I might win and today I fought to the end.

“I made the very best of the swing I had this week – and there’s always plenty of England Order of Merit points to add to my tally.”

For Bladon – a player with plenty of top level experience having played both The Masters and the The Open in his heyday, his debut in the in this event was a case of ‘what if’.

“I was close…but no cigar,” he admitted.

“I enjoyed it a lot. I hit some good shots and some dreadful shots. I scrambled it well and got it round.

“I was having to grind it out.

“I still think I can play reasonably well, I just need to get fitter.

“I still enjoy playing and the challenge.”

 

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