Bailey aiming high at Alwoodley
Lindrick’s Bailey Gill is going trophy hunting this summer after setting his sights on capturing one of amateur golf’s big titles.
His first opportunity will come on local soil when the English Men’s Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship - better known as The Brabazon - is played at Alwoodley at the end of May. The Leeds course is a favourite of Gill’s and one he is very familiar with thanks to a reciprocal agreement between his home course and Alwoodley.
But before he competes against an international field what is arguably the biggest strokeplay event in world amateur golf , he was once again due to represent his country in the European Nations Cup at Sotogrande in southern Spain from April 10-13.
Gill was joined by Ben Jones of Northamptonshire, and the two Toms from Somerset, Plumb and Sloman.
Gill, 21, said: “I am delighted to have been selected for Nations Cup. Playing for my country is my biggest achievement in golf so far. There are a lot of good players in the England set up and it’s pretty evenly balanced. There are plenty others who could have been selected so it’s a great feeling to make the team."
He played for England twice last year at the Costa Ballena Octagonal and in the Home Internationals where he was part of a winning team.
He readily admits that his relishes team golf and the environment that comes with it, but there’s no hiding the fact that he wants to win a top individual event.
“I haven’t won anything big yet but I’m looking to change that this year-it’s slightly overdue now. I finished third in the Brabazon last year and it would be nice to go a couple of places better."
And there would be no more popular winner at Alwoodley. “I take advantage of the reciprocal agreement as much as I can and have played Alwoodley a lot-it’s a great course. Every part of your game has got to be at it’s best around there and staying out of the heather with your tee shots is absolutely key. “
He goes into this year with confidence and a well thought out game plan. “I feel I am a better player than last year both technically and mentally. I put too much pressure on myself last year. This year it’s going to be about one week at a time and making sure I am very well prepared for the big events.
“Last year I wanted to play well every week but that’s just not going to happen, and this summer I want to make sure I peak at the right times.
“I feel more comfortable with my game this year. I’ve been working with my coach Graham Walker on bringing more accuracy to my long game and improving dispersion with the longer clubs.
“I’ve always been good from 120 yards in and my putting is another strength. I bought a Trackman last October and mu numbers keep improving so I feel like I’m ready to go.”
He and fellow Tyke Alex Fitzpatrick were invited to attend a Walker Cup squad get together at Hoylake in December watched by captain Craig Watson and R&A selectors Nigel Edwards and Andy Ingram.
Keen observers of the amateur game feel that selection for the match against the USA in September as wide open and a good run in the coming months would put him right in contention.
“Yes, the Walker Cup is a massive goal for me but we will see what happens this summer," added Gill who started out at Lindrick as a 12-year-old.
A Walker Cup cap could also open doors in the world of professional golf, where Gill sees his future.
“I’m planning on going to Tour school this year which will be a new experience for me. I want to be a professional and try to make a living from playing the game and that will be the first step.”
He got a taste of the big-time last May when his father Rob, who is The Sun’s Motors Editor, arranged for him to play in the pro-am at the BMW PGA Championship. “It was a great experience and I really enjoyed playing in front of the big crowds."
His golfing hero is Justin Rose. “I love the way he plays and admire how mentally strong he is. I suppose I have modelled myself on him but I still want to be myself. “