Oh boy – what a win for youngster Tom

Youngster Tom Hartshorne is one to keep an eye on for the future.

The eight-year-old from Eaglescliffe in Stockton-on-Tees got the better of more than 100 adult golfers to win a tournament at Rockliffe Hall and earned mini-celebrity status, appearing on the TV news as a result of his success.

He was four under his handicap for 36 holes to win the Grassholme Goblet at the Hurworth course, which has hosted the European Seniors Tour and is the home of Tour player Graeme Storm.

Tom, who plays off 20, picked up a golf club just weeks after he started walking and now regularly plays in competitions with his dad, Ally, a three-handicapper and Rockliffe’s Player of the Year.

Tom said: “I love golf and really wanted to show everyone how good I am, so I’m so happy that I won!”

There was field of 112 at Rockliffe for the first round of the Goblet and the best 40 made the cut for the second round in the afternoon. 

At that point, Tom was in fourth place, two shots off the lead, and he played great golf to come through and win the trophy.

It’s not his first victory, he was also the winner of the Durham County Junior Tour U12 order of merit last year.

Tom’s dad, Ally, said: “It’s been a whirlwind since Tom won. We’ve had so much attention and Nicola and I are so proud of him, but the most important thing is that he plays golf to enjoy it – that’s what it’s all about. 

“He could go on to be a top golfer – he wants to one day win The Open – but he is only eight years old and we just want him to have fun. 

“If he had his way he’d be on the golf course every day, but he’s also very good at football so who knows what will happen. 

“All we can do is make sure he enjoys whatever he does and we’re hoping a lot more youngsters will get involved so he can play with them. His friends are proud of him too and he is getting a lot of them interested in the sport, which is great.”

Tom had been walking just a week when he picked up one of Ally’s clubs – and it was bigger then he was – but he was quickly into the game.

“The Open was on and he was watching Tom Watson and the crowd clapping when the ball was on the green, and you see he was enjoying it.

“We’re expecting an addition to the family in February and already he’s said his new brother or sister could be his caddy!”

There’s been a spin off for Ally too, who has found himself playing more because of Tom and that’s helped bring down his handicap.

Besides being a member at Rockliffe, Tom also plays at Dinsdale Spa and Teesside.