Thorp Academy

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Thorp golfer enjoys Masters experience

IT'S not every day a student at Thorp Academy gets to walk the fairways with the stars of world golf - and then beat a former US Open champion along the way.

IT’S not every day a student at Thorp Academy gets to walk the fairways with the stars of world golf – and then beat a former US Open champion along the way.

That is what happened to Andrew Griffiths when he got up close and personal with some of the best players around when the British Masters was at Close House.

The Year 7 student followed up success in the under-12s category of the Junior Masters on the Tuesday by rubbing shoulders with big names such as Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood.

Then he even got to defeat 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell in a Beat the Pro contest over the fifth hole on the championship Colt Course; capping an amazing week for the Year 7 student.


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Andrew, who plays off 22, said: “It was fantastic, all of it. I couldn’t have wished for a better week. I will remember it forever.

“Graeme was a really nice man. He helped me to line up my putt when I beat him on that Par 3 over the water, and there were plenty of people watching.

“You can watch it on the internet. He didn’t need to help but he did and he is a real inspiration to me.

“I felt a lot of pressure when I was on the tee, but it felt good. It’s made me feel like I can handle things now. I want to be a professional golfer when I am older and this has made me want to do it even more.”


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Beating Ryder Cup star McDowell was a fitting way to cap a memorable week.

Andrew said: “Lee Westwood congratulated me when I won my category at the Junior Masters, then I got to carry his bag when he played alongside Miguel Angel Jimenez on the night in front of lots of people at the Hero Challenge. I was quite nervous and got a ball off him.

“I also got to meet Rory McIlroy on the Wednesday because my friend, Henry Joynson, won the overall category in the Junior Masters so he got to meet him at the Pro-Am. I was with him.

“Then I got to do an interview with Sky Sports in the Swing Zone with Nick Dougherty and play with Graeme McDowell. I was really happy. It was a really nice experience.”

Andrew is a golf scholar enrolled on Thorp Academy’s Elite Performer Programme, and as part of that he receives top tips from Thorp’s golf consultant Graeme Storm.

Storm, who won the South Africa Open in January, finished fourth at the British Masters on Sunday and Andrew walked around watching him in action.

“I would love to follow in the footsteps of players like Graeme McDowell and Graeme Storm,” said Andrew. “I started playing golf when I was four or five, crazy golf, then mini golf and then I got lessons.

“I joined Parklands and played in competitions there, now I am a member at Close House, where I will be going for lessons as part of the scholarship programme at Thorp.”

Andrew is from Seaton Delaval and won a special edition British Masters Ping carry bag as well as a set of clubs. He won his category in the Junior Masters by posting 39 points, four short of the overall winner, and his Close House friend, Henry Joynson.

As well as beating McDowell and being interviewed in the Sky Sports Swing Zone, Andrew got to caddy for Lee Westwood during last Tuesday’s Hero Challenge. He also met Rory McIlroy, who gave him his ball.

Andrew will be heading to Scotland this week on an exciting trip with Thorp Academy to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrew's.

For further information about Thorp Academy’s Elite Performer Programme, sport scholarships, contact [email protected]