NOBODY expected a Spanish inquisition for first-year student Nicky Maddison when the teenage hotshot took up his sports scholarship at Northumbria University last September.
But in less than a year the computing undergraduate has emerged as the latest success story coming out of one of the country’s leading golf programmes.
June saw Maddison represent Great Britain in the World University Golf Championships, held at the Antequera course in Malaga, Spain.
And while the +1.5 handicapper was finding his way around the island greens news broke that he had been crowned Northumbria University’s Sportsman of the Year.
“It’s been a great first year at the university for Nicky,” admitted Northumbria’s head coach and Parklands mainstay Mark Watkin.
“He has exceeded all expectations and fully deserved his award. It was just a shame he was in Spain when the presentation was made but then that’s the price you pay for success!”
Maddison made the GB squad after his stunning come-from-behind victory in the 2010 BUCS Individual Championship, held at the Dundonald Links Golf Club.
The Northumbria and City of Newcastle youngster found himself seven shots down at one stage before clinching a three-shot win ahead of university teammate Ross Crowe.
And Watkin added: “I don’t think anyone saw that victory coming. Nicky had finished second in one of the previous BUCS events but hadn’t been outstanding in the others.
“It was a surprise win but a deserved win as his attitude and work-rate is second to none. For a first-year student to do what he did is exceptional.
“It was that BUCS win that persuaded the university that Nicky deserved the Sportsman of the Year award and his performance earned him the trip to Spain.”
Maddison finished 37th in a field of 82 student golfers from around the world in Malaga and his four-round 303 helped GB to finish eighth overall in the team competition.
Team-mate James White was the top British player – finishing fifth behind Spanish winner Gerard Piris Mateu.
“To perform so well in that kind of company is another string to Nicky’s bow and we’re delighted to have a player of his calibre in the Northumbria squad right now,” added Watkin.
“Later this year he will be joined by one of Yorkshire’s top golfers in the shape of Josh Bassett.
“And we’ve picked up two of the North East’s fastest emerging golfers with Richard Robson-Crosby (Ponteland) and Andrew Scrimshaw (Prudhoe) joining the university on sports scholarships in September.
“After a couple of transitional years I think the university programme is in a good position to go to the next level and I’m pleased that local talent is coming through.”
Maddison saw off competition from the best student clay pigeon shooter in the country to claim Northumbria’s coveted sportsman 2010 award.
And he won the prize ahead of Wales international basketball player Chris Pearce to take the top award presented by paralympian club thrower Stephen Miller at a star-studded Newcastle Civic Centre dinner.