Golf: Julian Taylor sews up rare Yorkshire Union conquest
Updated 6:25pm Saturday 12th July 2014 in Sport
JULIAN TAYLOR has become only the second York Golf Club member in 120 years to win the coveted Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs' Yorkshire Amateur Championship.
The 21-year-old, making huge strides at university in the United States, came through a tough week of qualifying and matchplay clashes to write his name on a trophy that bears the monikers of six-time European Tour winner Simon Dyson and fellow golf stars Danny Willett and Richard Finch.
Taylor, armed with a plus three handicap, destroyed Oliver Smith 9&7 in a 36 hole final to conclude a fine few days on the fairways and greens of The Alwoodley Golf Club in Leeds.
The William Woods University student qualified for the matchplay stages with rounds of 73 and 75.
"I played pretty solidly the whole week," he said. "The final wasn't as bad as it ended up. I just got on top of him and, towards the end, he knew he wasn't going to beat me.
"I was in the top ten after the first round of qualifying and I didn't get off to a great start in the second. It was about making sure I played steadily (and got through to the matchplay stages)."
With 36 holes a day, as the matchplay event got into gear, it was tough work for Strensall-based Taylor. "Towards the end of every day I was absolutely shattered," he added.
"We travelled every day and it was about 45 minutes. I was on the tee at 8.30am so that meant I was up at six every morning and playing 36 holes a day."
But it was in those matchplay stages where Taylor really stepped up a gear. With thick rough providing a test off the Alwoodley tees, he first saw off Hessle's Harry Woolfall 2&1 before a marathon match with Matthew Pearson went his way at the fifth extra hole.
Taylor said: "That was a fantastic match. I was one down going up the 17th and managed to halve that and win the last. I struggled to win in the play-off holes, I couldn't close the match out until the fifth extra hole.
"If I had lost that game I would have been very disappointed. Once I won the 18th, I went to the play-off holes expecting to win."
Hornsea's Luke Robinson and England player Jamie Bower were both beaten 3&2 before his comprehensive victory over Smith in the final.
A delighted Taylor said of his success: "I am really proud. This was my fifth time in the event and I got to the semi-final five years ago at Fulford. That was fantastic at the time. There are some great names on the trophy like Simon Dyson, Danny Willett and Richard Finch. It's 120 years old."
About to start his fourth year reading maths at the Missouri university, Taylor, who won the Phil Mickelson award following a stellar freshman year, is now eyeing a national championship before returning for an assault on the professional ranks.
"I am aiming to win the national championship there both with the team and as an individual," he declared. "Then, after I have finished my degree, I will be thinking about turning pro."
Mike Wells, secretary at York Golf Club, said: "Julian is only the second county champion from York Golf Club since they started playing the event in 1894. Stephen East was the first in 1982.
"It is a fantastic achievement. Julian has been a cracking golfer for many years, he has equalled our course record and he has done so well in the States.
"He's an utterly level headed and really nice young man and I hold him up as an example to the juniors."