Late entrant Beekie scoops Senior Open
WHAT do the Danish football team, Croatian tennis star Goran Ivanisevic and Peterborough Milton’s Ray Beekie all have in common?
It’s probably not a question you will hear in too many pub quizzes but by winning Milton’s Senior Open last Thursday, Beekie joined a select list of sport’s great ‘johnny come latelys’.
Just like Denmark winning Euro 92 after a surprise late call-up and Ivanisevic’s famous wildcard triumph at Wimbledon in 2001, the Northamptonshire county star stole the glory despite only entering the event at the last minute.
Beekie had been relaxing at Milton’s 19th hole after a midweek medal when his arm was twisted after a late cancellation left a gap in the field.
And having decided to play, Beekie made sure he filled that gap with a blistering performance to take the title with 39 stableford points.
He said: “I had no intention of entering but when I was told that someone had dropped out I decided to make up the numbers but it turned out to be a good decision in the end. I am not even a member of the senior section at Milton as I still play off six but it proved to be a good decision.
“I think I hit about 14 greens and only three-putted a couple of times for a gross 74 so I was pleased with the way I played and of course delighted to win such a prestigious event ”
Not that the 69-year-old is any stranger to the winner’s enclosure.
During a glittering career in the amateur game, Beekie has won plenty of silverware including the Northamptonshire county title and the Peterborough Milton club championship.
But having overcome cancer in recent years and now suffering from the effects of arthritis, Milton’s new Senior Open champion has to pick and choose carefully when and where he plays these days.
“I only tend to play once a week these days but still play senior county golf which is a lot of fun,” he added.
“The arthritis is a bit of a problem and it reduces how much I can play but it won’t stop me.
“I have entered a few other Opens and a few of us from Milton are heading up to Grantown-on-Spey for a tournament which should be a lot of fun and hopefully I can keep my good form going for that one.”
While Beekie took top spot in the 150-strong event, two of the other top handicap prizes were claimed by players from Stoke Rochford and Scraptoft, proving just how wide the appeal of this competition was.
Senior captain and former Open winner, David Longworth, said: “Once again we had a wonderful event which was attended by players from far and wide which just goes to show how popular it is.”
“The standard of play was also of the highest order and I would like to thank everyone who took part but the biggest thank-you must go to Ian and Pauline Clulow who worked so hard to put it all together. Their help was invaluable and they did a wonderful job.”
RARING TO GO: Pictured at the start of the Senior Open at Milton (above) are from the left, Bill Black, David Longwoirth and Pete Glover. (METP-03-06-10AS002)
Winner Ray Beekie (left) is presented with the Milton Senior Open trophy by senior men’s captain David Longworth.