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New 'kid' on the block

It took a back-9 countback to establish Waterfront Golf’s Dave Sanby as the new Yorkshire Seniors Champion. Over a gripping 36 holes at an immaculate Selby track, the recently retired Army man was matched over the two days by Hallowes’ Stefan Priest with matching rounds of 72, 71 for +1 totals. A double bogey on only Sanby’s 3rd hole on Monday June 13 was the only real blip over the two days as he bagged three birdies against two bogeys in round one and went even par on the Tuesday with pairs of birdies and bogeys. For Priest, and eagle at the 18th had jumped him back into contention after a double on 16. And although he played remarkably steady golf in round 2 with two birdies, it was a double bogey on 12 that proved decisive in the countback. Meltham’s Ian Towers had led the field at the end of the first day with the only under par score of the championship, a -1 70. Day two was a disappointment however with nine bogeys for an 80 and a drop down the leaderboard. Sand Moor’s Ian Backhouse had been just one shot off the lead going into the closing 18 holes, but a +3 round of 74 left him two back of the leaders, with Halifax West End’s Chris Ingham on further back. For the champion, it was a timely victory as he prepared to make his debut for Yorkshire Seniors the following week at Durham. It was also proof that change is as good as a rest – as a swing adjustment on the eve of the Selby outing bore fruit. Sanby explained: “ I made a swing change the day before. I’m swinging the club shorter, so that took a lot of extensive practice on the Sunday. I shortened the swing and that really made a difference. Coming into a golf tournament with a swing change is a bit unusual, but it just felt great from the get-go. “The greens were ... emotional. It wasn’t a case of holing out from 18, 20ft it was a case of just trying to lag them up – don’t charge them because often, behind the hole, you could run them by six, seven, eight feet without even blinking. “The greens were exceptionally fast ... probably as fast as I’ve played anywhere. But true and consistent for all 18 holes over the two days, which was remarkable because they all suffer from wear and tear, but we teed off second from last and the greens held up. “It’s remarkable how well the Selby ground staff have presented this course. It’s a top, top course and I’ve really enjoyed it. But ... I think it’s going to take me two weeks to get over the greens!” Sanby, a Lincoln native who has lived in Yorkshire for 12 years, retired from the Army in April. He was a PGA qualified pro at 19 but joined the Army at 21, where he spent the next 36 years, representing them and winning their national championship. Aged 57, he finished 7th in his first County Seniors at The Oaks in 2020, and 10th at Doncaster last year. Explaining that he gave up the game altogether for eight or nine years, he paid tribute to his new employer Frank Houlgate at Waterfront Golf. “I gave it up completely, I had a sabbatical. I’d just had enough of it. But I started going down the range, Waterfront Golf, and hitting a few balls and then started playing again.” Soon enough Sanby was playing for the Waterfront first team. “Frank has coached me and allowed me to practice daily on the Trackman Golf Range to improve my golf,” he added. Of his win, he said: “I am a lag putter. My ball drops in by gravity only ... I don’t think I three-putted throughout the two days. I didn’t hole many, but I didn’t three-putt.” As to the swing change? “It was to get more control. I’d noticed that the last couple of weeks the ball striking, it was just going a little bit off, and a friend of mine at the golf club, Kyle Upton, was videoing himself and I thought I’d do the same thing. I took the video on Saturday with him – thanks Kyle – and noticed I was over-swinging. So I just tried swinging it shorter and here I am talking to you. I owe Kyle a few beers!”


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