GOLF: Woodhall Spa’s Latham ends year with top Merit spot

English Men's Senior Amateur Championship 2013''Richard Latham

English Men's Senior Amateur Championship 2013''Richard Latham

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Woodhall Spa golf manager Richard Latham’s whirlwind year has come to an end seeing him top the England Golf Seniors Order of Merit.

At just his first attempt, Latham has certainly made a quick impression on his contemporaries after turning 55 in May, making him eligible to compete in Seniors events.

He took first place at the English Seniors Championship and followed that up with top spot at the Scottish Seniors Open just three weeks later.

He topped the Merit list with 90 points, 13 more than his nearest rival Andrew Stracey from Denham, Buckinghamshire, with Richard Partridge, of Wildernesse, Kent in third on 58.5.

“I’m delighted to have won the Order of Merit in my first year as a senior,” said Latham. “I’m told that my points tally is a record and I didn’t play that many events, just four.

“I didn’t expect to finish top as I can’t play in every event because of my work. But when you win twice and finish second in another it clocks up the points.”

Having spent a lifetime as an amateur golfer, Latham knew he had to prepare for life among the seniors when he reached 55 so enlisted the help of England Golf coach David Ridley.

“We didn’t just work on my swing but on everything, including the mental side. I can’t thank David for all the help he gave me,” added Latham.

The success of the former Herfordshire and Lincolnshire golfer earned him a place in England’s senior squad for the European Senior Team Championships, where he finished leading individual.

He then represented his country in the Senior Home Internationals, which saw him lose just one of his five matches.

“It’s been a fabulous year,” Richard added. “I’ve started my preparations for next year already.

“I would like to play as much as my work allows me to, but I would certainly like to defend my English and Scottish titles as they mean a lot to me.”