Emotional Alex Shaw dedicates Seaton Carew triumph to his late father
There was joy and tears as an emotional Alex Shaw became Seaton Carew’s club champion for the first time.
Seventeen years after landing the club’s junior title, the 34-year-old got his hands on the men’s crown – an honour his late father would be extremely proud of.
It was his dad, Adrian, who introduced Alex to the game as a 10-year-old and told him they were joining Seaton at the turn of the century. Adrian sadly passed away two years ago after a short battle with cancer.
Alex felt his inspiration was with him when he was able to build on a two over-par first round – which left him tied with two-time champion Ian Hendry and Jack Burton – by shooting the only level-par score of the two-day event to become club champion.
Alex, Seaton’s club manager, said: “It is hard to put into words what this really means to me… how much hitting a little white ball around to earn this title actually means. I was overwhelmed by the congratulations I got from people – to have friends on the edge of the 18th green crying when I won was an insane feeling.
“The most nervous part was walking down the 18th knowing I had to make a speech without crying. I managed, but only after I went into the office and cried my eyes out. I rang my mum straight away; she was in floods of tears too. Honestly, even now, I find it hard to express how it feels.”
After Alex, who spent 12 years as a PGA teaching professional before reclaiming amateur status at the start of this year, had two-putted for par on the 18th to seal victory, he remembers “sighing and trying to take it in.” He then realised there were friends in tears as he walked off a green – where more than 70 people waited to shake his hand.
He had spent Saturday night “talking to dad and asking for help to win” at home after finishing the first round at the top of the leaderboard with Ian and Jack. He got to the golf club at 6am Sunday to arrange the division three and four championships before preparing for his 2.30pm tee time.
Even though Alex didn’t putt brilliantly over the two days, he struck a handful of the best shots he has in his life in difficult blustery conditions to end five shots clear of Ian.
The two were neck and neck most of the way around, with brief exchanges of brilliance from both players. It was not until the 16th when things started to turn in Alex’s favour. While Ian bogeyed, Alex chipped in from the side of the green for a birdie to give him the lead. He followed that up with an outstanding six-iron to the back right of the green, 10ft from the pin, and made the only birdie of the day on 17.
That sizeable cushion put him firmly in control and after striking his tee shot sweetly at 18, he went on to win one of the oldest club championships in the country.
He said: “I have grown up looking at all of the names on the board. I’m also honoured to call a lot of past club champions my friends. It was one of my goals after turning from pro back to amateur because if you are going to call yourself a decent player, club champion is the way to go.
“My old man was my idol, my best mate, and he was probably the only person I wanted in the room on Sunday and he wasn’t there. I’d like to think he was, mind, all day, because I was remarkably calm and got on with the job at hand. Nothing really flustered me, I just kept on trying to make the right choices and take the right risks at the right times.”