James Glenn returned to the amateur ranks and picked up his first major county title with victory in Durham’s County Championship at Hartlepool.
The 31-year-old Texan stayed in control of the event over the closing holes with a superb round of 67 as defending champion Jack Ainscough produced a round of 64 to almost force a playoff.
“I’m over the moon,” said James. “It was tough on Jack, with him shooting 64 in the last round, and I feel for him.
“A couple of people had asked if I wanted to know how Jack was doing, but I knew 10 under-par would be hard to beat if I could get there. Even if Jack was doing something silly, he would have to shoot a course record to get to 10 under-par. If I had known he was seven under-par after 12 holes and had taken a two-shot lead, I don’t know what I would have done.”
James won the Durham County Scratch Order of Merit in 2018 and was a serial winner before he decided to turn pro.
“I had a flirtation with the professional ranks but it was a case of really poor timing,” said James. “ I turned pro after getting my card for the EuroPro Tour. In the third week of May, after my third event, the Home Office changed the restrictions of my visa. My university didn’t find out until my fifth event, when I’d finally made a cut and was getting settled.
“They told me ‘you have to stop playing right now’ and as they were my main visa sponsor, I had to. That was it. As my wife Amanda and I want to stay in the UK long-term, I can’t work as a golf professional, so I got my amateur status back.
“The opportunity to go back to the pro ranks may come along, but I’m enjoying my golf as an amateur. I’m playing the best golf of my life at the age of 31. If I feel I’m playing well enough, I may give it another go in a couple of years.”