Yorkshire golf: County’s top youngsters battling to emulate Masters winner Danny Willett

Danny Willett, the Masters champion, won the Yorkshire Boys' Championship in 2005.
Danny Willett, the Masters champion, won the Yorkshire Boys' Championship in 2005.
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YORKSHIRE’S finest young players will assemble at Fulford on Wednesday striving to add their name to a trophy that lists Masters champion Danny Willett among its recent winners.

In the last dozen years the Yorkshire Boys’ championship has, in fact, been won by three players who have subsequently won on the European Tour – Willett, his fellow Sheffielder Matt Fitzpatrick and Harrogate’s John Parry – as well as Huddersfield’s Nick Marsh, the 2014 English men’s amateur champion.

Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs' secretary Keith Dowswell (Picture: Chris Stratford).

Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs' secretary Keith Dowswell (Picture: Chris Stratford).

Small wonder, then, that Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs’ secretary Keith Dowswell is expecting the title to be won by a top talent around the York venue.

“The championship tends to find the best player, provided we don’t get rained off and reduced to 18 holes,” he said. “That happens sometimes and can give a freak result, but over 36 holes it is a good way of finding the best player.”

Among the leading contenders is likely to be Charlie Thorton, who will have the advantage of playing on his home track.

“Of the older entries, I would expect Charlie and Sam Bairstow, of Hallowes, to feature prominently,” added Dowswell.

“They are both plus one handicap and have been doing well this year, particularly Charlie who has been playing in a few open events and national championships and has done okay. He is a very promising player.”

The two players with the lowest handicappers, Hallamshire’s Barclay Brown and Charlie Daughtrey, of Rotherham, will compete simultaneously in the Under-16s championship.

The event is run in tandem with the Boys’ Championship to encourage younger players to compete.

“Barclay and Charlie (Daughtrey) are both exceptional players, both Under-16 internationals and played for England recently in an eight-person team that went to Spain,” added Dowswell.

“Charlie was exceptional as a 10-year-old. We had him on a players identification day and he came as a member of Phoenix then. He could hit draws and fades, low ones and high ones. It was amazing. I have not really seen a boy of that age like him before or since.”

Daughtrey will play for Yorkshire’s senior side this week as they continue their defence of their Northern Counties League title against Cheshire at Sandiway. Brown would also have featured, but for the demand of exam preparations.