Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Smoking Joe Aims to Pack a Punch

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Smoking Joe Aims to Pack a Punch

Article excerpt

TRIPLE major winner Padraig Harrington today goes into his last tournament before the Open and nobody will be scrutinising his form more closely than "Smoking" Joe Fraser, the new Durham County Junior Matchplay Champion.

From the same Low Fell area that gave us Paul Gascoigne and Brendan Foster, Fraser (pictured right) is called Smoking Joe not only after Joe Frazier, the former world heavyweight champion who fought three magnificent battles with Muhammad Ali in the early 1970s, but also because he is so focused on making it in golf.

Since Fraser left St Cuthbert's High School in Benwell as a 16-year-old two years ago, he has been spending almost as much time in the gym as the original Smoking Joe used to do.

"Padraig Harrington is my hero," he says. "Yes, I'll be watching him on TV in the Scottish Open because he is my role model. I like the way he keeps calm and stays in control whatever is happening on the course.

"I started playing golf when I was 11 and I loved it so much, I started getting a bit carried away. One day my dad caught me throwing a golf club and he told me if I ever did it again, he would not take me down the golf club again. And I could see he meant it."

Fraser got the message and matured so effectively that, when he was 16, he was chosen to captain the North of England Juniors in matches against Scotland and Yorkshire. He is a third generation member of the Ravensworth club, following his father, Darren, and his grandfather, Joe Hunter. The 6ft 2in, 11'-stone Fraser is grateful to his father for far more than putting him straight on how to behave. Darren owns National Computer Recycling, based in Chester-le-Street, and his support enables his son to live the life of a golf pro.

Fraser will take up a place at Paris College, near Dallas, in September, which means he will miss out on The Journal Champion of Champions. …

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