New kid on the block Keith lighting up seniors

Keith Clinnick
Keith Clinnick
Harry Ellis. Picture: PA Images

Ellis crashes out of US Amateur Championship

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Keith Clinnick believes his recent entry into the senior ranks can help him prove age is no barrier to amateur success.

The three handicapper from Hayling Golf Club only turned 55 recently – making him eligible for the senior amateur events.

And he marked his first outing by only narrowly missing out on the coveted Hampshire, Isle of Wight & Channel Islands Seniors’ Championship.

He lost out in a play-off to former European Senior Tour professional Alan Mew.

The former Hayling captain had turned in an impressive display to card a 27-hole total of 110 on the Blackmoor course and take the tournament into extra-time.

However, he then pulled his tee shot into the water on the first extra hole, which cost him his chance of what would have been a remarkable victory in his debut event.

But he has already shown it was not a flash in the pan and followed it up with a top-10 finish in the Shanklin Vase at Parkstone.

He will head into the English Seniors Amateur Championship in good heart later this month at Aldeburgh & Thorpeness near Ipswich.

Clinnick said: ‘Generally, I was happy with what happened.

‘When we got to the play-off we had to wait for about 40 minutes but I didn’t feel nervous on the tee or anything,

‘Alan’s an ex-European Tour pro so I had nothing to lose but I tweaked it over on the wind and the next thing I knew I was in the pond.

‘Everybody can look back at shots and think “that lost me the Championship” but I played really well and just came up short unfortunately.’

While he’s the new kid on the senior block, Clinnick is hopeful his relative youth will give him the upper hand.

He said: ‘I only turned 55 on March 21 to become eligible for the seniors and I’ve made a decent start.

‘But I’m going to the English Seniors’ Championship and because I’m only just starting in the senior ranks, I’m going in with high expectations.

‘My game is pretty good at the moment and I’m looking forward to going.

‘It would be nice to help put Hayling on the map again but also show the youngsters that us seniors can still play a bit of golf.’

While he now qualifies for the seniors, Clinnick still retains hopes of a call-up for the Hampshire amateur team. He has targeted an improvement to his handicap with some consistent play to get him into the frame.

He said: ‘My ambition is to play for the county – it’s always been my ambition.

‘But I’m also looking to get my handicap down to two or maybe even one by the end of the year.

‘I’ve been working with Hayling professional Mark Treleaven, so hopefully that can help me become a bit more consistent.’