Rymer turns on old style to be­come num­ber one

HICK­ORY GOLF

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT -

A TEENAGER from the Buck­ing­hamshire Golf Club has be­come world hick­ory cham­pion – only a year after tak­ing up the retro form of the game, writes Tim Street.

Rymer Smith, 19, a ris­ing star at the Den­ham-based club, tri­umphed in the am­a­teur com­pe­ti­tion at the World Hick­ory Open at Carnoustie in Scot­land.

It is an im­pres­sive achieve­ment, see­ing as he has only been play­ing hick­ory golf, which sees play­ers us­ing pre-1945 wooden clubs and dress­ing in pe­riod cloth­ing, for less than 12 months.

Smith, from West Dray­ton, found him­self in ex­alted company too, with for­mer Open and US Masters cham­pion Sandy Lyle win­ning the pro com­pe­ti­tion.

Smith said: “I like learn­ing about the his­tory of the game. I played a game with the old clubs and en­joyed it, and I like dress­ing up in the plus fours too.

“It was a two round tour­na­ment, and I shot 72 and 76 to win. There were 126 play­ers and I led the leader board overnight, ahead of even Sandy and all the other tour pros.

“I was play­ing along­side Sandy a lot of the time. I watched him and he watched me and we had a chat. He was a nice fella and very down to earth.

“As far as reg­u­lar golf goes. I am try­ing to be­come a pro my­self. I am at the level where I can do it, but I want to do it in my best pos­si­ble form, in the next two to three years. I want to play some more ma­jor am­a­teur events and get some more ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Smith has now been in­vited to com­pete at the Amer­i­can Hick­ory Open in Philadel­phia next May, but be­fore that he will team up with his old man once more to take part in the Euro­pean Fa­ther and Son Cham­pi­onships, which be­gan yes­ter­day (Tues­day).

It was a tour­na­ment Rymer and his fa­ther, Joe Smith, won in 2011, but have fin­ished third in each year since – and they are de­ter­mined to win the trophy back this year.

‘Gypsy’ Joe Smith is a for­mer golf pro­fes­sional him­self and also a London ju­nior cham­pion, who was also once London’s bare knuckle box­ing cham­pion in a colour­ful sport­ing ca­reer.

CHAMPS: Lyle

Rymer Smith with Sandy

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