Supremely-consistent Rupert spells double trouble for the rest
EG: Saturday June 5th
There was a familiar feel to the top of the England Seniors leaderboard as Berkshire’s Rupert Kellock edged out 2019 winner Ian Attoe (Surrey) by one shot last night to retain the title.
Last year they also finished first and second while Attoe claimed the third of his seniors titles at Holme Hall and Elsham and, a year earlier (2018), also won it at Sherwood Forest and Coxmoor.
“Ian is a fierce competitor, “ said the retired Army officer who is a member at Sunningdale. “He’s a very good friend and it’s a delight to beat him.
“You’re always looking for him on the scoreboard and if you’re ahead of him you know you’re near the top.”
This year it was the turn of The Army and Blackmoor in Hampshire to welcome the best O-55s in the country and 285 players took on the challenge.
The early pace was set by West Wiltshire’s Mike White, who opened up with a four-under-par 65 at Blackmoor. That left him two ahead of Attoe while the would-be winner was a further three back. He managed just one birdie in his first-round 70.
The next day the reigning champion maintained his steady play. On a day when par meant a swift rise up the leaderboard, he managed just that on the Army course to move right into contention. With White struggling to a 78, Lancastrian Trevor Foster (Pleasington) produced the stand-out effort of the day (67) to go level at the top with Yorkshiremen Richard Jones. Both players registered 140 for 36 holes.
The conditions for the conclusion were cool and damp and once again par golf represented excellent golf and the champion regained his crown with his second successive level par round. Of the contenders only former pro Warren Bladon (Kenilworth) could match it and the Warwickshire ace rose to third in the final standings, behind Attoe, who closed with a 70 (+1).
“I’m obviously delighted,” said Rupert. “To win anything at the age of 60 is fantastic – to win the national title is very, very special. I’m dead chuffed as always.
“I felt very comfortable, but it was a lot tighter than last year (in 2020 he won by three shots). I wasn’t sure if I had a one-shot lead playing the last or was level.”
The Sunningdale player also won the 55-59 years prize while Attoe took the 60-64 trophy. In the 65 and over category Stoneham’s Alan Dew (Hampshire) came out on top, finishing on a highly creditable seven over par which left him 10th overall.