Hickory Hero

Former Hong Kong international Rick Valentine claims World Hickory title with clubs his great grandfather made

Valentine in actionHong Kong now has a world champion golfer – Rick Valentine, who won the World Hickory Open Championship, played at Monifieth and Carnoustie Burnside, Scotland, in October.

Rick, who is the son of HKGA Chief Executive Iain Valentine and the grandson of Scottish amateur legend Jessie Valentine, carded an opening 75 before settling for an 81 to tie 2010 champion Perry Sommers on a two-day total of 156. With the light fading, Valentine defeated his Australian rival on the sixth hole of a sudden-death play-off thanks to a par.

"The World Hickory is a great event and I have been involved from the start," said Valentine, who represented Hong Kong at international level and is now the director of golf at Loretto School Golf Academy in Musselburgh. "I have finished third on two occasions so to win this year is a great achievement."

It turned out to be a successful championship for the Loretto Golf Academy because Valentine also teamed up with two of his pupils, 15-year-olds George Sutherland and John Dunn-Butler, to win the concurrent team prize.

"Winning at Carnoustie was special as my grandmother Jessie Valentine also won the Scottish Ladies' Championship there in 1953," continued Valentine. "During the years I have played in the Hickory I have managed to learn a lot about the history of the game within my family."


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