Teenage golf star Rhys’ professional dream

Rhys Thompson
Rhys Thompson

Talented Rhys Thompson is hoping to make it big as a golf professional after adding another trophy to his growing collection.

The 19-year-old avenged the disappointment of losing last year’s Durham County Matchplay Championship final by going a step further 12 months later.

Thompson lost last year’s decider through a play-off to Seaham’s David Patterson, but bounced back at the weekend to land the trophy at the second time of asking.

It continued a great run of form for the teenager, who has also won the Northumberland and Durham Inter-County Foursomes Championship with playing partner Gavin Nesbit, a Junior Club Championship and a Men’s Club Championship this year.

His dad, Norman, boasts that since the age of five there hasn’t been a day where his son hasn’t swung a golf club.

And Thompson, who is studying golf management at the University of Central Lancashire, sees his future in the golf industry.

“I want to be involved in golf,” he said.

“With my degree I’ve got a number of different options I could pursue. I’m going to see which part I enjoy most, and I look forward to seeing what opportunities come up.

“In the long-term, turning professional is my No 1 goal, but at the minute I want to continue my degree and carry on playing amateur for a few more years.”

And in this year’s competition at Wearside Golf Club, Thompson reached the final once again, where he made a promising start by being two up after eight holes.

Thompson, who hails from Boldon, had lost last year’s Matchplay final after being two up with three holes to play.

And when this year’s opponent, Darren McCaig, who plays out of Whickham Golf club, heaped on the pressure when he birdied eight, nine and 10 to come from one behind to go one up, the youngster could have feared the worst.

However, he birdied the 17th to level the scores, and sealed the trophy on the final hole after McCaig found himself in trouble in the bunker.

Thompson said: “I didn’t think about last year’s defeat in the final, I was just focused about winning this time round.

“I was definitely nervous on the final hole, but I knew what I had to do.

“Since last year my game has definitely come on.

“I’m more of an experienced player, and all round I’m a better player.”