WITH his game toughened by a year of American college golf, Cheshire teenager Mark Geddes has come home for summer.
And within two days of landing, and in his first tournament since his return, he has become the new Cheshire Matchplay champion.
The 18-year-old, a member at Prenton, beat Ray Hughes of Caldy, the former captain of Cheshire, in what he describes as the biggest win of his career.
It came in commanding style, 6&5 and, asked about the key to his success, he said: “I was only down by one hole for the entire tournament. I did start well in every match and being in the lead early on I was under no pressure. Also I did putt really well.”
Now he has his sights on other events before his return to the America golf scene which has played a major role in the development of his game. “The standard (in American college golf) is really high,” he says. “You do not get the chance to relax. It is always very highly intensive.”
He became interested golf watching it on television and, aged seven, his dad, Bill, also a member at Prenton, went with him to the local driving range.
But for three years his golf was basically restricted to playing on family holidays at the Buckpool club near Elgin, on Scotland’s north east coast. where he became a member. Football was his first sporting love and, that apart, he found that, at least at that time, most clubs would not accept a youngster as a member until they were 12. Prenton was one of the exceptions. He became a member there at the age of ten.
He played for Cheshire Boys from the age of 12, won the county Under-14s tournament in 2006 by four shots and was county boys captain in his last year in England before he went to America. His golf handicap is now scratch.
He is on a golf scholarship, studying sports management, playing and practising golf, at the Grand Canyon University at Pheonix. He plays for the university golf team and has helped it reach the regional finals on the college golf circuit.
During the week he attends classes every day until about 11am and then after lunch plays golf for the rest of the day. He has completed his first year and reports: “Yes, it’s going really great.”
He is one of several from the north west who have been on American golf scholarship and like others have found the experience hugely beneficial to their golf.