FORMER amateur champion Paul Mayo has admitted he was “a mess” for two years after being diagnosed with diabetes.

Mayo’s life changed forever when he collapsed during a tournament at Bowood Golf & Country Club in Wiltshire in 2012.

Tests showed that the 53-year-old from Newport was diabetic – he was also found to be suffering from diabetic retinopathy, a complication of the condition that affects the back of the eye.

Fast forward to today and Mayo takes to the Roman Road course at the Celtic Manor for this year’s Wales Senior Open.

Mayo says the next three days are all about personal pride as he looks to continue his rehabilitation alongside some of the top seniors on tour.

Speaking about what he has gone through since that ill-fated day four years ago, he said: “My plan was to leave Newport Golf Club and play on the European Senior Tour, but it hasn’t happened.

“After I left Newport I played not realising how ill I was, and at one stage I didn’t play for 12 months.

“I’ve had a couple of difficult years, physically and mentally, and it took me a while to get my diabetes under control.

“It took me a couple of years to get fit and healthy and I was a mess for the best part of two years.

“Life was very difficult and mentally I was shot to pieces because I wasn’t expecting it to happen.

“The biggest problem with my diabetes is how it affects my eyes, sometimes it’s hard for me to read the greens.”

But despite all his problems, Mayo has dreams of qualifying for the Senior Open Championship, which takes place at Carnoustie this year and Royal Porthcawl in 2017.

“The aim now is to get as fit and healthy as I can and then play in the Senior Open,” he added.

“It’s something I really want to do and it would be a massive achievement if I could get there.”

On the Wales Senior open, he said: “To play in the Wales Senior Open on home turf is a great pleasure. It’s all about personal pride for me.”

The Celtic Manor event runs until Sunday and features household names including Welshman Ian Woosnam, the 1991 Masters champion and Ryder Cup-winning captain.

Other home favourites entered in the tournament are Mark Mouland, Peter Evans and Glyn Davies.