Yorkshire golf: The Oaks' James Walker will look to build on excellent Spanish showing

The Oaks' James Walker (Picture: Chris Stratford).
The Oaks' James Walker (Picture: Chris Stratford).

THE OAKS' James Walker would have been entitled to feel Lady Luck had turned her back on him not once but twice as he took on world No 7 Romain Langasque in the semi-finals of the Spanish amateur championship.

With the Yorkshireman leading by two holes with three to play, the Frenchman chipped in to keep the match going at the 16th.

And, in quite extraordinary manner, he did likewise at the next.

But Walker, rather than rue his misfortune, had a much more sanguine view. "It wasn't as if he was trying to miss them, was it?" he laughed.

The disappointment at missing out on an all-English final with Hampshire's Scott Gregory has given way to acknowledgement that it was a fine start to a year in which he hopes to build on an excellent 2015 campaign.

Walker, who turns 22 on Sunday, placed eighth in England Golf men's order of merit and will look to rise even higher in a season that he hopes will culminate in a bid to gain his European Tour playing card.

"I will be looking at playing the Tour Qualifying School at the end of the year - if the year is good enough and I have the funds," he said. "If it is not, I will not be going."

Walker is son of The Oaks' head professional and England men's coach, Graham, and ultimately hopes to follow his father into the professional ranks.

However, first he will concentrate on impressing in a summer of major amateur events, with the Hampshire Salver - awarded to the player with the best results in the Selborne Salver and Hampshire Hog - his first target next month.

He will take into those events the confidence of having reached the last four of a national championship and the knowledge that he performed solidly that week at RCG Sevilla.

"It was a nice week. It was good to play with some of the lads that I played with," he reflected.

"I hit it a lot of time into the right spots off the tee and then my iron play was nice and solid.

"I did sort of scrap my way through the first round of match play (a 3&1 win over Ireland’s Conor O’Rourke); that was a bit of a struggle. It was not quite there for me, but the other guy was scrappy as well, and in match play you just have to beat the guy in front of you."

Walker had qualified comfortably through 36 holes of stroke play, and says he approached both formats of the game with the same mind set.

"I just tried to play the par of the course, I just played like stroke play, really," he said. "You just try and play the same game regardless of how the other guy is doing."

He defeated France’s Ugo Coussaud one up in his next match and was a comfortable 4&3 winner in his quarter-final against Spain’s Jorge Maicas Redondo before being edged out by eventual tournament winner Langasque.

His busy schedule means that opportunities to help Yorkshire in their attempt to defend the Northern Counties title will be limited.

The situation the Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs face is not unlike that of Yorkshire CCC, who develop and then provide many players for England's Test team in cricket.

"I would play for Yorkshire if and when I can, but it will be a struggle really for me," he said. "There are a lot of good Yorkshire players who are now involved in the national stuff."