Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Durham Golfer Who Shocked LEGENDTREVINO; Farewell to the Plumber from Stanley - 'One Hell of a Player'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Durham Golfer Who Shocked LEGENDTREVINO; Farewell to the Plumber from Stanley - 'One Hell of a Player'

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Taylor

ROY Clark, an amateur golfer from Stanley who has died at the age of 80, will be most remembered as the plumber who once matched - and startled - the great Lee Trevino A charismatic Texan, Trevino was in his prime when he played the Whitley Bay Classic in 1970, having already won the first of six majors.

The professional field, who played 36 holes, featured big names of the era including Peter Thomson, Tommy Horton, Neil Coles, Peter Oosterhuis and Maurice Bembridge. Regional amateurs competed in a separate 18-hole tournament.

Trevino travelled down from Scotland to Whitley Bay for this Sunday tournament, played the day after Jack Nicklaus won an 18-hole play-off to win The Open Championship at St Andrews.

This was in the days when the Open finished on a Saturday, Doug Sanders famously missing a crucial short putt.

Trevino had led the Open at one stage and, playing with Oosterhuis, was followed by a gallery of more than 1,000 at Whitley Bay.

He appeared thanks to the connections of Chris Robinson, a Northumberland publisher and golf administrator who was the public relations officer for John Letters, the makers of Trevino's clubs.

No record was kept of the full scoreboard. Although Bembridge won, Trevino rewarded his fans with a three-under 69 in the afternoon. Clark, who won the amateur event, was the only other player to shoot a 69.

The two men left the clubhouse without meeting but the 1968 US Open champion, who was to amass a career total of 89 pro tour wins, was staggered to learn an amateur had matched his score in conditions so blustery Trevino and Oosterhuis took 15 strokes between them on Whitley Bay's signature sixth hole in the first round. Trevino said: "He must be one hell of as player. Who is this guy Roy Clark?" Almost a quarter of a century later, "this guy" was to be officially recognised as the ultimate prize guy in his county's golfing history.

In 1996, the Durham County Golf Union hosted a dinner in Clark's honour at his golf club, South Moor, to celebrate a unique status he achieved that year by winning the first of his three seniors championships. …

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