School­boy golf ace on course for glory

Rossendale Free Press - - News - CHAR­LOTTE GREEN char­­i­tymir­

APRIMARY school golf prodigy who can drive a ball more than 260 yards is bid­ding to over­come the odds to be­come a star of the fu­ture.

He may stand at just 4ft 9in tall, but 10-year-old Al­fie Bur­nett’s tal­ent with a golf club puts most adult play­ers in their place.

His achieve­ments are even more im­pres­sive as Al­fie, from Hud Hey, Hasling­den, has also been learn­ing to live with a con­di­tion - Supraven­tric­u­lar tachy­car­dia (SVT) - which causes his heart to speed up to a dan­ger­ous 260 beats a minute.

Al­fie’s at­tacks have been so se­ri­ous that he re­quires emer­gency in­jec­tions - but is now on new tablets, which are proving suc­cess­ful.

Last month Al­fie shot a su­perb low round of 69 at the fa­mous St An­drews Links’ Strathtyrum Course, to come fifth over­all in the Adi­das Golf ‘Wee Won­ders’ Bri­tish Cham­pi­onships, beat­ing older play­ers’ rounds.

It rep­re­sented a re­mark­able come­back for Al­fie, who suf­fered sev­eral se­ri­ous bouts of SVT last year which took a toll on his com­pet­i­tive play.

Al­fie, who is in his fi­nal year at Hasling­den Pri­mary School, has al­ready got his hand­i­cap down to a hugely im­pres­sive 12.

He said: “I am try­ing to get my hand­i­cap down to a sin­gle hand­i­cap so I can play for Lan­cashire, and then play for Eng­land and go pro­fes­sional.

“I want to play the Open at St An­drews, and es­pe­cially the Masters at Au­gusta and I’d also like to play in the Ry­der Cup.”

He added: “They have had to stop my heart four times. It is a bit scary, but it’s al­right be­cause I know it’s not go­ing to stop me.”

The young­ster’s first taste of the sport came aged just four when he picked up a club at a fam­ily bar­be­cue.

Six years later he al­ready has a string of tour­na­ment wins un­der his belt, and has just been named the Lan­cashire Un­der-14s player of the sea­son, with a long­est (wind-as­sisted) drive of a mam­moth 265 yards.

Al­fie said: “I do re­mem­ber the first time I played - I was out with my un­cle and he let me have a few shots with his clubs and I just re­ally en­joyed it.

“The shot I like play­ing best is my tee shot, be­cause when I play in a cham­pi­onships I like to hit it fur­ther than any­one else.”

Al­fie also shows an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the game’s finer tra­di­tions and names his favourite for­mer play­ers as the late greats Seve Balles­teros and Ben Ho­gan.

He said: “Those guys didn’t play for money, they played be­cause they re­ally loved the game. They are re­ally in­spi­ra­tional for me. I’m just work­ing at get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.

“I would like to be a world cham­pion.”

●● Al­fie Bur­nett aged 10

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