YORKSHIRE county player James Walker fought his way through two rounds of match play to reach the last eight of the Spanish International Amateur championship at RCG Sevilla on Friday.
The Oaks player saw off Ireland’s Conor O’Rourke 3&1 in the first round and had to go to the last before defeating France’s Ugo Coussaud one up in his afternoon encounter.
His father, Graham, head professional at The Oaks and England men’s coach, was out in Spain as both James and Bedale’s Dan Brown qualified for the match play stage of the event via 36 holes of stroke play.
“James has worked very, very hard for the last few years and he had a lovely year last year,” said Walker snr. “He finished eighth in the England Order of Merit, and he’s continued it on. I sent him a text saying well done. It is a world-class field out there.”
He added: “I saw him hit some shots out there and he controlled his ball beautifully in the stroke play.
“He did really well in that to qualify quite easily.
“He plays match play pretty well; you try to manage yourself well and manage the course well – and you’ve got to play the man in front of you. If you can do that, you’ve got a chance.”
Walker snr says James has no preference for either format, commenting: “He takes it as it comes and tries to play the best golf he possibly can whether it’s stroke play or match play.”
He believes his son will eventually look to follow him into the professional ranks, but at the moment says James “is trying to get as good as he can be in the first place”, adding: “When you’re 20, 21 years of age, you try to be as good as you can and see where you can go from there.”
James has worked at The Oaks to support himself during the winter months, both in the shop and the academy.
“He’s been working at The Oaks two or three days a week, making sure he got some money for himself,” said Walker. “We (he and his wife Sue) have supported him as well, but I don’t think it does them (top amateurs) any harm to work in the winter.
“I think what you’ve got to do is make sure they appreciate the value of things, where some kids these days don’t. He’s certainly got some good values.”
Walker jnr will face Spain’s Jorge Maicas Redondo in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Brown, the Dutch Junior Open champion, lost out to France’s Romain Langasque in his first-round match.