FORMER British Amateur champion Paul Mayo will end a 16-year spell as Newport club pro in December in a bid to join next year’s European Senior Tour.
The highly-decorated Welshman turns 50 in early January and later that month competes at tour qualifying in Portugal for one of 14 places on offer.
Mayo is disappointed to be quitting his role at Newport but feels that now is the best time to get back into a regular routine of competitive golf having finished playing on the European Tour in 1996.
“It hasn’t been a long ambition to be 50,” joked Mayo.
“But I thought about it and decided it was something I’d like to have a go at having previously played on the main tour.
“I’m capable of qualifying but I’ve got a lot of work to do in the next few months and I’ll be going out to Portugal next week to get some practice in.
“The odds are stacked against you to qualify and it’s going to be tough but I think if I can get through I can hold my own on the tour.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Newport and the membership has been extremely supportive but it’s time for me to move on.”
Mayo, a former Welsh Amateur, Welsh Boys and British Youths champion, will be one of 72 players attempting to qualify for the tour over four rounds at Pestana’s Vale da Pinta course from January 28-31.
The 49-year-old father-of-two – Josh, 19, and Scott, 15, are both promising golfers with handicaps of one and seven respectively – ends his stint at Newport on December 2 and is fully focused on what lies in store.
“I’ve been at Newport since 1996, run a business and brought up a family and thoroughly enjoyed all of it,” he added.
“But I feel it’s time for a change and it’s better that I try and get on the Senior Tour now when I’m about to turn 50 rather than a couple of years down the line.
“I know what I’ve got to do. My life on tour has been on the backburner for 16 years so I’m looking to get out there again.
“It’s going to be a full-time thing and totally different to what I’m doing now. I’ll be able to focus 100% on my golf and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“At the moment I’m not even thinking about not qualifying. If I don’t I’ll just assess the situation as and when it comes.”
After winning the British Amateur Championship at Prestwick in 1987, Mayo won the silver medal for the leading amateur at that year’s Open at Muirfield.
He turned professional after gaining entry to the 1988 US Masters and later got to play alongside the legendary Jack Nicklaus at the 1991 Open Championship.
Meanwhile, Gwent League kings Newport saw their five-year winning streak in the annual play-off match against the winners of the Glamorgan League come to an end on Sunday.
Taking on Neath at Wenvoe Castle, the sides were level at 1.5-1.5 after the morning foursomes before Newport lost touch in the singles and suffered a 6-3 defeat.
Continuing the Newport theme, also on Sunday the club hosted the Gwent Boys’ Matchplay Championship and the Gwent Junior League Play-offs.
In the former, Monmouthshire’s Nathan Humphreys celebrated a prestigious double by adding the matchplay crown to the strokeplay title he lifted at the end of July.
Following wins on the 19th hole against Joshua Davies (Celtic Manor) and Jack Davidson (Llanwern) in rounds one and two in August, Humphreys beat another Celtic Manor youngster, Rhys Evans, 2&1 in the semi-final.
In the final he faced Liam Wilson, also of Celtic Manor, who defeated clubmate Joe du Feu 2&1 in the last four.
Humphreys ran out a comfortable winner in the competition’s showpiece, seeing off his rival 4&3 to claim first prize.
The St Pierre team of Oliver Mottram, Philip Stickler, William Royle, Callum Lewis, Laurence Vargas and Nathan Hubbard posted a combined score of 373 to win the Junior League Play-offs.
They will now represent Gwent in the Welsh Junior Inter Club Championship at Builth Wells on October 31.
Mottram and co finished 15 shots ahead of second-placed Parc with Greenmeadow in third and Bryn Meadows a distant fourth.
Finally, Gwent weren’t able to end their Channel League campaign on a high as they slipped to an 8-7 reverse away to Gloucestershire to finish the season fifth out of the seven counties.
The visitors led 3-2 after the foursomes and then won the opening two singles through Richard Bentham and Mitchell Reid to hold a commanding three-point advantage.
However, the hosts had other ideas and when Jack and Jonathan Davidson, Otto Mand, Daniel King and Rhys Barber all lost the match had turned on its head with the home team needing just a point from the three games left to seal overall victory.
Gwent fought back though and wins for Stuart Westley and Andrew Williams appeared to swing the encounter in their favour again.
But back on the 15th green Gloucestershire’s Andy Hale had chipped in to secure a 4&3 success over Richard Taylor to edge it for the hosts.
Monmouth Golf Club hosted the last meeting of 2012 season of the South Wales Plumbing & Heating Golfing Society and after a wet week conditions were difficult but the greens were perfect.
Garay Nelson won the Monthly Champion prize, his second win in a row with 33 stableford points, The Society now travel to Thornbury in Bristol for their annual end of season games on Friday, Nov 16.
Monmouth: October Tankard; (div one) 1. S. Ford 41pts, 2. M. Hunt 39, 3. B. Hudson 37, (div two) 1. G. Head 40, 2. M. Pell 38, 3. A. Cairns 35.
Newport: Gwent Boys’ Matchplay Final; N. Humphreys (Monmouthshire) beat L. Wilson (Celtic Manor) 4&3 Gwent Junior League Play-offs; 373 St Pierre, 388 Parc, 408 Greenmeadow, 426 Bryn Meadows
Pontypool: Members’ Day Men’s Stableford; (0-12 Hcp) 1. M. Williams 39pts, 2. K. Thomas 39, 3. S. Hewitt 38, (13-18 Hcp) 1. S. White 39, 2. A. Richards 38, 3. C. Barry 38, (19-28 Hcp) 1. M. Reece 38, 2. G. Burch 38, 3. B. Jones 36.
Members’ Day Ladies’ Stableford; 1. J. Baynham 31pts, 2. P. Rostron 30.
Ladies Lillian O'Sullivan Flag; 1. V. Young 115-36=79, 2. A. Bridges 105-21=84.