Masters star Luck has link with Newry

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

MARTIN Patterson watched last weekend's US Masters more intently than usual.


True the Ballyholland man is a big golf fan, but viewing this year's tournament was extra special as the son of his long-time friend (and his cousin) was stroking the wee white ball around the immaculate greens and fairways of Augusta, Georgia in the biggest and most lavish golf bonanza in the universe.

And Australian Curtis Luck, the number one amateur in the world, gave his Irish fan something to cheer about. Before the tournament started he played a round with Ulsterman Rory McElroy and enjoyed the experience, McElroy taking him under his wing.

Curtis then he went on to make the cut in the Masters, in the process leaving behind some of the best players in the world. He finished nine over, with two excellent level par rounds.

Martin Patterson said of Luck: "It was a fantastic achievement. Curtis beat over half the field and apparently he is going to turn professional right after the Masters."

Indeed by the time you read this it's highly likely he will be a pro.

But to clarify the local interest: Martin, a son of former Newry mayor Jackie Patterson, and himself a multi-talented sportsman who excels at triathlon, tennis and golf (among other sports), represented Ireland in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

On the way there Martin stayed for three months with relatives Pat and Graham Luck, descendants of Martin's late mother Pauline (nee: McBurney), and indeed, as the pair were the same age, Martin became a lifelong friend of their son Stuart.

Stuart and Martin kept in touch over the years and the Newry man told the Democrat: "We would often talk about our children but Stuart was never boastful. Often he would tell me his young fellow was playing a bit of golf but never any more."

However, it transpired that the 'young fellow' was more than a bit useful with the with the wee, white ball and the 20-year-old is in fact currently the reigning US Amateur champion and the reigning Asia-Pacific Amateur champion. Thus his entry into Augusta.

The Irish Open and Scottish Open will be played in June and Stuart told Martin that himself, his family and son Curtis hope to visit him at his Moor Hill Road home in Newry. And if circumstances allow, Stuart said Curtis hopes to play the Warrenpoint course and Royal County Down. Also he hopes to meet Warrenpoint juveniles.

Incidentally Martin's five children, Ethan, Ryan, Pierce, Myles and Erin are also really excited at the opportunity to meet a world golf star. The five are members of the Warrenpoint Club and in fact 14-year-old Ethan has been drafted onto the Ulster U16 Golf panel and is a member of Warrenpoint's Fred Daly team.

Meanwhile Martin's wife Fiona has already started work getting her house into ship-shape for a visit from golf's royalty!


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