Yorkshire golf: Best of British – Ten-year-old Josh Berry is off to play golf at Pinehurst
EVERY golfer who has visited St Andrews has done it - waited for a gap in play then nipped on to the course to stand on the Swilcan Bridge to have him or herself photographed.
Ten-year-old Josh Berry, a member at Doncaster GC, did it this week with one big difference; he was holding a trophy after winning a British championship.
The Bentley High Street pupil had trailed by a daunting eight shots after his first round of 83 in the 36-hole adidas Wee Wonders event on the Strathtyrum course.
But an astonishing second round of 71 - just two shots over the gross par - catapulted him to a four-shot win.
His prizes include not only a place in next May’s European Wee Wonders Championship at Gullane, but also entry into the World Wee Wonders Championship two months later at Pinehurst, in North Carolina.
It was the thought of missing out on a trip to Pinehurst that spurred Josh - who had earned his place in a 22-strong field at St Andrews by winning a qualifying event in Bolton - to his final round heroics.
He was in eighth place approaching the start of the second round and he thought the top 10 qualified.
However, before teeing it up at the first he learned that only the winner would be invited to play at Pinehurst, like St Andrews one of golf’s truly iconic stages.
“He was upset, but I said ‘that’s alright, just go out and enjoy it - there’s always next year,” said his father Scott, also a member of Doncaster GC. “And he went out and won it.”
Word spread that Josh was only three over par through 12 holes and when he grabbed three birdies in the next four holes there was a buzz around the 17th tee which was hard to ignore.
“Some parents approached me and said that they thought Josh might be winning,” said proud father Scott.
“He asked me what was happening and I said, ‘I don’t know if I should tell you but you’re up there with a chance’ and he said ‘Yes!’.
Josh also birdied 17, but finished with a double bogey, a blotch on his scorecard but not a barrier to him bringing more glory to Doncaster GC this summer.
Last month junior captain Connor Longworth, Jack Ciullo, Cameron Newman and reserve Declan Stoppard returned from Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire having been crowned England Golf’s Junior Champion Club in the final.
Josh probably would not have won his event but for assessing for himself a first-round problem with his putting, making an adjustment in his feet alignment - and holing virtually every putt he looked at in round two.
His handicap has come down from 28 to 12 this season and already he has ambitions of following in the footsteps of his two golfing idols, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, by playing on tour.
At this rate of progress, Jordan and Rory would do well to note the name of Josh Berry.