Family Are Real Rock For Chris

With brother Andrew holding his breath and mum Joan looking anxiously on, young Chris Paisley holed a tricky three-footer to become the first amateur to win the prestigious Rock Tournament at Matfen Hall.

With brother Andrew holding his breath and mum Joan looking anxiously on, young Chris Paisley holed a tricky three-footer to become the first amateur to win the prestigious Rock Tournament at Matfen Hall.

The 21-year-old Northumberland County Champion was pushed all the way by Swinton Park professional David Smith, but his nerves held and with scores of 70, 68 and 70, Chris won the title by one shot.

Although he wasn't eligible to receive the winner's cheque of £5000, Chris was more than pleased to take away the splendid Northern Rock trophy along with a voucher for £500.

"I'm just delighted, I never expected to come here and win this week," said Chris. "I have been playing well and my confidence is high so it feels great to play in this tournament and beat a lot of really good players."

"Matfen Hall has been perfect this week and I've got to say, the greens are the best I've putted on over here. The course was set up fair but hard. You had to keep the ball on the fairway to stop it on the greens but if you got in the rough, it played a lot harder but that's how it should be."

Chris is currently two years into a golfing scholarship at the University of Tennessee, where he is developing into a real golfing talent for the future.

He added: "The scholarship has made a very big difference in every aspect of my game to be honest. The coaching facilities, the physical and mental sides of it but basically, I have really benefited from the whole package."

Chris hopes to leave university in two years' time with a degree in Sports Management and a golf game good enough to make it on to one of the PGA Tours.

Brother Andrew, a PGA professional at Matfen Hall, was delighted with Chris's victory. He said: "I'm just so proud of him. Chris has got an unbelievable work ethic; he may be an amateur but he's a model professional. He works so hard and has got a great attitude to the game.

"We may have a good laugh when we practice together, but I know that every shot he has hit out there, he's rehearsed it many times. This was not a fluke by any means; Chris was the best player at Matfen this week and fully deserved the title."

His mum and caddie for the week had difficulty in holding back the tears.

She said: "I'm exceptionally pleased with his performance, and I am very proud of him as I am of all my sons. They all support each other and that's what it is all about."

When asked if her ability as a caddie had anything to do with his victory, Joan replied: "I caddied for Chris when he won the County Championship and I've caddied this week and of course, mum's always right.

"But truthfully, I can't tell him what to do or what club to play. I just basically push the trolley, give him drinks when he wants them, chat a load of rubbish in between and keep him calm."

With Chris now heading back to the States, The Rock Trophy has pride of place in the Paisley family home and will provide memories of a week never to be forgotten.

 

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