One hole of a re­turn af­ter in­jury lay-off

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport - By Mark Stokes

Richard Sil­man made a spec­tac­u­lar re­turn to tour­na­ment golf by fir­ing a hole-in-one in his first event back af­ter a lengthy in­jury lay-off.

The Ten­ter­den Golf Club pro­fes­sional has been se­verely ham­pered by per­sis­tent back and hip prob­lems, and hadn’t played com­pet­i­tively for nine months be­fore lin­ing up at the Golf­ PGA Four­ball Cham­pi­onship East qual­i­fier at Bush Hill Park.

He and his part­ner Si­mon Shep­pard (Bishop’s Stort­ford) fin­ished in a tie for third place on 64 (-6), with the Kent man shoot­ing five birdies and an ea­gle, which came cour­tesy of his ace, at the 136-yard 16th.

He ad­mit­ted his main sat­is­fac­tion came from just be­ing able to play pain-free again, but said he couldn’t deny that his hole-in-one made the oc­ca­sion even sweeter. It was his third com­pet­i­tive ace, and re­mark­ably his 12th in to­tal.

Sil­man, who turned 44 just three days be­fore the event, added: “I’ve spent the last two or three years think­ing I’m not go­ing to fin­ish a round of golf, think­ing I’d play four or five holes and then make a swing and it would fin­ish my day.

“I hadn’t re­ally been ex­pect­ing too much (at Bush Hill) but I’ve now re­ally bright­ened my week and I feel as if I can kick on from here.”

Sil­man’s pro­fes­sional ca­reer spans 24 years, hav­ing pre­vi­ously played at Bishop’s Stort­ford, Royal Cinque Ports and Harts­bourne (Hert­ford­shire), but he ad­mits he be­gan to won­der if he would ever cure his in­jury prob­lems.

He added: “I’ve been strug­gling for maybe two to three years with back and hip prob­lems and could not quite get to the bot­tom of it.

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