Latham defends senior crown

RICHARD Latham will defend the English Men’s Senior Championship he won on his debut last year when the 54-hole event takes place at Northumberland clubs Matfen Hall and Hexham on  June 4-6.

But a notable absentee is Oldham’s Alan Squires, winner of three successive senior titles from 2010, who has been recovering from illness.

Latham, golf director at Woodhall Spa, made an instant impact on the senior game after he turned 55 in May last year, winning the English title at Bristol & Clifton before securing the Scottish Seniors the following week.

He was also the leading qualifier from the strokeplay stage of the European Senior Men’s Team Championships when representing England in Hungary, finished runner-up in the Senior County Champions Tournament at Woodhall Spa and was a member of the GB&I team that recently competed against the United States in the Concession Cup in Florida.

He will be joined by four other former English Senior champions in Northumberland as well as those just qualified by turning 55, who will seek to follow in Latham’s footsteps.

The other former champions in action are Crewe’s Roy Smethurst who has won the title a record four times; Doug Arnold (Copthorne), David Lane (Goring & Streatley) and Chris Reynolds (Littlestone) and Roy Smethurst (Crewe). Between them they have secured 11 English Senior titles over the past 16 years.

All these players have been capped by England at senior level in recent years, while all seven members of England’s victorious team from last year’s Seniors Home Internationals are in the field of 240 for the 34th Seniors Championship.

That magnificent seven includes Chris Reynolds, John Ambridge and Douglas Cameron (both Moor Park, Hertfordshire), Charlie Banks (Stanton-on-the-Wolds), Richard Partridge (Wildernesse), Tyrone Carter (Stevenage), and Andrew Stracey (Denham), any one of whom could be crowned champion.

If there is to be a new name on the trophy it could also come from the last three winners of the Senior Men’s County Champions Tournament, Douglas Cameron, Alan Mew (Stoneham), and Tony McLure (Longhirst Hall).

Another contender is likely to be Stephen East (Moortown), who turned 55 last October and who won his maiden senior title recently with the Spanish Senior International Championship at La Manga, while other England senior caps in the field include Andrew Carman (Coventry), Martin Galway (Brighton & Hove), Dave Jessup (Wrotham Heath), the former World Speedway champion, Adrian Donkersley (Gerrards Cross) and Philip Slater (Sandiway).

The competitors will play one round over each course on the first two days after which the leading 60 and ties will complete 18 holes on the final day at Matfen Hall.

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