Yorkshire golf: Ben Brewster tackles Scottish championship buoyed by Fulford record

Wheatley's Ben Brewster.
Wheatley's Ben Brewster.

WHEATLEY'S Ben Brewster has already added victory in the Lindrick Scratch Open and a new amateur course record at Fulford to his golfing cv this year.

But the Yorkshire county player says he feels as if the season will only truly get under way on Friday in the first round of the Scottish men's open stroke play championship at Gullane.

Ben Brewster's record-breaking card at Fulford in the Brabazon qualifier.

Ben Brewster's record-breaking card at Fulford in the Brabazon qualifier.

Webster shot a stunning eight-under-par 64 at Fulford to be the leading qualifier for the Brabazon Trophy, having previously held his nerve to win a sudden-death play-off to secure victory at Lindrick.

"I think now is where my season starts," he says. "Obviously I won at Lindrick and got the record at Fulford, and they were a couple of weeks apart.

"After that I have had a bit of a break, but now things will start to roll in week after week, so this is where I feel now my season starts, and after the win obviously I am confident. Now it feels a bit more real."

Winning a national title is on Brewster's list of targets and the confidence gained from shooting a new low at Fulford, a former European Tour tournament stage, means he goes to Gullane in exceptionally good heart.

"I missed only one shot all day, which is not too bad," he says of Fulford, with great understatement.

"I had two bogeys, but for the one at the third I hit a great shot straight at the pin and it took a firm bounce and went over the back of the green.

"The other bogey was at 17 when I hit my tee shot right and found myself behind a big tree. I thought I could find a gap through, but the shot was never going to come off.

"I should have just chipped out and taken my medicine - but I managed to make it up with a birdie at the last."

Brewster soared to his 64 on the back of two eagles at par-5s, the first coming at the ninth where he put a four iron to within eight feet.

On the 11th, he had hit a rescue club to 15ft and was preparing to putt when the second shot of county colleague Dan Brown (Bedale), playing in the group behind, landed behind him and rolled into his peripheral vision.

"Dan hit his shot thinking he couldn't reach the green," recalls Brewster. "My playing partners were waving at him and asking, 'what are you doing?', but I put my thumb up and said, 'Great shot'.

"Then I took one look at the putt and rolled it straight in the middle. Dan came up to the 12th tee really apologetic and I said, 'don't worry about it, I made my putt. You've got your eagle putt for a half."

Brewster's composed reaction to the incident exemplified his play throughout the day, and he concedes: "On days like that everything seems so simple.

"It all came together really quick. I birdied the second, gave it straight back at the third, had pars at four and five - then I went birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle and suddenly I had turned in 31, five under par.

"It wasn't as if I was hitting high calibre golf shots; it was just one solid shot after another, and I did not have a clue that I might be on the way to breaking the course record."

Brewster was only aware of his achievement when Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs president Jonathan Plaxton, a member at Fulford, approached him after the round.

"He asked if I wanted to pose now or after I'd signed my scorecard and that was when it sunk in that I had done something special.

"(Former Masters winner) Ian Woosnam holds the professional course record at 62, so I'm a couple of shots back on him. But I will still take 64.

"I have held course records at my home courses in the past, but never at another course. I couldn't really pick a better golf course in Yorkshire to do a course record. Maybe Ganton or Lindrick, but Fulford is easily up there with the best."

Gullane being a links course, the chances are that the field at the Scottish men's open stroke play championship will have to contend with windy conditions. Bring it on, says Brewster.

"If the wind blows it is better because it rules a lot of people out of the tournament mentally," he explains. "I think a lot of people don't like it when it gets tough and you have to grit your teeth and dig in. Being a Yorkshireman you have a bit of that grit in you anyway, but I like it when it gets like that because you can grind, dig in and battle through it.

"If you can battle through tough conditions and shoot good scores then I think you are more of a complete player than if you can play well in sunshine and no wind."