Open champion meets junior fans

Golfer Padraig Harrington meets pupils (from left) Cameron Hay, Archie Haase and George Parkinson.
Golfer Padraig Harrington meets pupils (from left) Cameron Hay, Archie Haase and George Parkinson.
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PUPILS must have felt like they had sunk a hole in one when they hit the course with a golfing great.

Two-time Open winner Padraig Harrington took the opportunity to have a look round this summer’s venue – and invited excited youngsters from King Edward and Queen Mary School (KEQMS) to join him at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

The 11 boys – all members of the school’s golf team – met Padraig in the members lounge at the prestigious St Annes club, which will play host to the game’s best players when the international tournament comes to town in July.

William Thompson, a lower sixth student and junior captain at Fairhaven Golf Club, was one of those who met the golfer and said: “I couldn’t get the smile off my face because I felt very privileged to have spent half an hour in his company.”

The golfer – who won back-to-back opens in 2007 and 2008 – spent time chatting to the group, which included school golf captain Cameron Hay, and giving them tips on their game.

KEQMS acting head Judith Cooper said: “This has been a great opportunity for the children, who for many Padraig Harrington, is one of their golfing heroes.

“We have an excellent golf team here at King Edward VII & Queen Mary School, so to have The Open on our doorstep is just fantastic and has created a real buzz throughout the school.

“I know that most of the children plan to attend The Open in July and to get the opportunity to meet one of the sport’s best known players is a real inspiration.”

And Harrington added: “I always enjoy coming to the North West and it has been great to meet the youngsters here today and see their passion for the game.

“I hear they’re also very talented players. It’s important that we encourage juniors to take up what, I believe, is a wonderful sport. The Open is a great opportunity for them to grow an interest in golf.”

The Open Championship runs between July 19 and 22, with four practice days between Sunday July 15 and July 18.