Rick Valentine, the Director of Golf at the Loretto School Golf Academy, won the 2012 World Hickory Open Championship played in autumnal sunshine over the Monifieth and Carnoustie Burnside courses.
Valentine opened with a 75 at Monifieth and then carded an 81 over the Carnoustie Burnside course to tie 2010 champion, Perry Sommers, on 156 before defeating his Australian rival on the sixth hole of a sudden-death play-off.
It turned out to be a successful event for the Loretto Golf Academy, which is based in Musselburgh, because Valentine also teamed up with two of his pupils, George Sutherland and John Dunn-Butler, to win the concurrent team prize.
Valentine, whose grandmother was the legendary Jessie Valentine who won three British and six Scottish ladies’ titles between 1937 and 1958, has been a regular competitor in the World Hickory Open Championship since 2006. In 2010 he finished tied third behind Somers and Gullane professional, Alastair Good but this year turned the tables on the former when he putted out in near darkness for a par on the sixth extra hole.
Earlier, third place had gone to Sweden’s Owe Werner, who posted scores of 79 and 80 to finish the regulation 36-holes three shots behind the leading duo. Mick Stevens, the reigning national Hickory Champion of America, tied for fourth place with Swedes, Jorgen Isberg and Johan Moberg, on 163.
“It was wonderful to see so many golfers playing on the links in 1900 golfing garb with traditional golfing equipment,” said Colin McLeod of Carnoustie Links Management Committee. ”In addition, it was good for Carnoustie Burnside to receive a share of the limelight. With its close proximity to the Championship course, the Burnside tends to be overshadowed but it’s a great golf course with almost 100 years of golfing history, which I’m sure the hickory golfers appreciated.”
The World Hickory Open Championship was inaugurated back in 2005 and has since become popular across Europe and the USA. This year it attracted almost 100 competitors from Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, the USA, Australia, South Africa, France and Poland as well as from the four home countries.
Under the rules of the competition, competitors must use either clubs made before 1935 or replicas of clubs manufactured before that date.
World Hickory Open Championship www.worldhickoryopen.com
Carnoustie Golf Links www.carnoustiegolflinks.co.uk