Senior Men’s Stroke Play – Final Day: Foster claims an emotional victory

Trevor Foster has admitted that his one-shot victory at the English Senior Men’s Stroke Play Championship came as a rich reward after difficult times with injury and mental health struggles.

The Pleasington golfer closed out an emotional victory at Ashridge Golf Club after enduring a rollercoaster ride in the final round of the 54-hole championship.

Foster carded three rounds of 69, 71 and 76 (the middle round at Berkhamsted) to finish on 216 (+1) and allow him to pip two-time champion Ian Attoe to the trophy.

Final leaderboard

But it was far from plain sailing for the 62-year-old Lancastrian.

Going into the final round at Ashridge, Foster was a shot clear of Torquay’s Peter Bicknell.

By the time the duo reached the turn, Bicknell was one clear of his playing partner with Foster three-over par for his front nine.

As the top two reached the 14th tee they were both on two-over par for the championship – and tied in first place with Ian Attoe who had come up on the rails with a final four-under par round 68 to post a 54-hole total of 217 (+2).

Foster, though, was the player who came strong when it mattered most.

An up and down from a greenside bunker on 17 secured a birdie and left him knowing that a par four at the final hole would earn him victory.

Helped by caddie Andy Walmsley, two putts from the fringe of the 18th green got Foster over the line and left him in tears alongside wife Debbie who had been with him every step of the way.

Foster admitted: “I never thought it would happen. I’ve won the Irish and I’ve won the British, but to win the English is really, really special.

“It was the one I wanted to win – definitely.

“It’s easy to be a loser, but to be a winner you have to work hard and I feel as if I have worked hard at it.

“Debbie has been an absolute rock for me and that’s why I am where I am.

“I’m not embarrassed to say it – and I hope it helps people – but I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for 30 years.

“I’ve had a rock of a wife that’s got me through it to help me win majors like this.

“I’ve had a false hip six years ago and for people out there, I thought my golf was ended.

“But no – I’ve won the British, this, the Irish and Order of Merit.

“If it helps anybody, you can get out it and you can get through it.

“It’s not a nice thing – but you can get through it.

“It’s great that England Golf support things like that– it’s become a big thing has depression and mental health. I help a few people with it and it’s good to battle through it and get to where I am.”

Attoe couldn’t have pushed any harder to try and make up ground on Foster and Bicknell.

On a day when others were crashing and burning, the Worplesdon golfer’s four-under par round of 68 was nothing short of spectacular.

After starting with a bogey five, Attoe rattled off five birdies to post the clubhouse lead at +2.

That looked like being two or three shots too many as Bicknell and Foster approached the turn still under par.

But as the afternoon developed Attoe’s score kept getting better and better until Foster steadied the ship and got the job done.

Foster added: “I love Ian to bits – but I didn’t want him winning it. He’s won it three times, I wanted it!

“I think – If I’m honest – Ian’s score kept me going so much.

“It’s been a great week on two fantastic courses.”

Romford’s Ian Moore finished in third spot behind Foster and Attoe after closing with a level par round of 72.

Warren Bladon started the day with high hopes just three shots adrift of the leader, but his chances all but ended with a triple bogey at the treacherous ninth.

To the Warwickshire golfer’s eternal credit, he battled back to play the final nine in two-under par even if did mean he left Ashridge with feelings of what might have been.

Bladon ended in a tie for fourth with England captain Alan Mew, London’s Danny Holmes and Bicknell who had fought so bravely but came unstuck on the closing stretch, eventually signing for a final round 78.

 

  • The 2023 English Senior Men’s Stroke Play Championship will take place at Pannal and Alwoodley golf clubs in Yorkshire.