Rising star Paul has a big future

GOLF: Although Paul Dobson did not perform at his best in the recent Daily Telegraph Junior Championship at South Africa's famous Sun City, there is a big future ahead for the 15-year-old from Woodbridge.

GOLF

ALTHOUGH Paul Dobson did not perform at his best in the recent Daily Telegraph Junior Championship at South Africa's famous Sun City, there is a big future ahead for the 15-year-old from Woodbridge.

Paul, the son of Suffolk professional Tony and the youngest competitor in the field, shot two rounds of 83, but was not 100 per cent fit after pulling a tendon in his back the previous week. He finished in tenth place.

In fact, Paul was a doubt in the week leading up to the tournament and only the efforts of his trainer Michael Tester enabled him to play.

He had qualified for this prestigious final by shooting a five under 65 in the qualifying competition at Woodbridge and finished in the top 12 of the whole country from an entry of around 38,000.

Even so, Paul only qualified by one shot, but it enabled him to go to South Africa for the final that was sponsored by Kelloggs, JJB Sports and Taylor Made.

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Tony, his wife Helen, and younger son Hugo also made the trip for the final that was reduced to two rounds because of heavy rain on the second day.

Michael Skelton, this year's European boys champion, won the event with scores of 67, 75, with Matthew Richardson, the current world junior champion, as runner-up.

"It was a marvellous experience for Paul," said Tony "And he will be trying hard to qualify for the final again next year."

Paul played his two rounds on the Gary Player course that was all set up in preparation for this week's Nedbank Sun City Challenge, featuring 12 of the world's top players including Open champion Ernie Els.

Tony, who played both the Gary Player and Lost City courses, said: "The pin positions were incredibly difficult."

On the Lost City course there is a crocodile pit beside one of the par threes.

Paul has made tremendous progress this year for a boy only just turned 15. His handicap in January was seven, now he's down to 2.3. During the summer he represented Suffolk at both under-16 and under-18 level and also played for the full county side in the Eastern Counties foursomes.

Paul has also qualified for English Golf Union winter coaching with two sessions at Woodhall Spa and the other four at Stowmarket under Paul Ashwell, the EGU coach. A fitness expert and a sports psychologist will be on hand to offer advice to the young players, all considered England players of the future.

Paul his keen to follow in his father's footsteps and become a professional, but Tony said: "We don't want him to rush into it and would prefer him to finish his education at Woodbridge School."

ROBIN Mann, Suffolk's former European Tour player who is now attached to the Felixstowe Driving Range, is to give five lectures, entitled the Simplicity of Golf, at Ufford Park during the winter.

The first will be on Thursday, November 28, and the other dates are December 4, January 8, February 5 and March 5.

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