‘Special’ victory for Worthing golfer Andy
WORTHING Golf Club’s Andy Gilford won the National Blind Championships in Cottingham Park earlier this month.
Gilford won the English Strokeplay Championship event by six shots, after losing out to club mate Billy McAllister the previous year.
He called the victory ‘special’ and said: “It was an excellent two days of golf. To win one of the blind major tournaments is really special.
“I’ve only recently returned from a ten-year break from the sport, so taking that into account that adds more to the win.”
Gilford is registered as B2, which means he is visually impaired and cannot play without the guidance of someone to help him around the course.
He shot six-under 36 on the first day of the tournament, then followed it up with a two-under 70 on the second day to secure his success.
He continued: “I have previously won the British Masters but this win is extra special as my wife, Mel, was guiding me around the course.
“To have her guiding me makes it feel as though it was a real team effort and adds that little bit extra to winning the championship.
“I have also been receiving coaching, along with Billy, from Jim Gardener, who is Worthing’s professional and he has been a great help. But I must mention everyone at the club, who have welcomed and embraced me from the day I joined there.”
Despite Gilford’s most recent success, he is still hungry for more wins and has a busy schedule lined up, with the Italian Blind Open on the horizon and another tournament at Belton Woods Golf Club.
But the main target for the Worthing man is making the 13-man rest of the world team, who face America in October.
He said: “It would be such a great honour to make that team. I have captained England and had some great achievements in the sport but that would top all of those.
“That is the driving force for me at the moment. It is a difficult task because there are some great players across the world but is one I would love to achieve.
“I’d also like to wish Billy good luck as he plays in the Irish and British Open in Dublin and Belfast this week.”