Six-year-old Tonbridge golfer flies the flag in Europe
by Andy Tong | 20th September 2018
A SIX-year-old golfing prodigy from Five Oak Green has qualified for the European Championships after dazzling the crowds at the famous St Andrews course.
Alexander Dunmall came third in the Adidas Wee Wonders Grand Finals in Scotland after winning a regional competition.
He also just missed out on a place in the US Kids World Championships – though he will have another opportunity to qualify at the Europeans.
Twenty-seven children took part from all round the country, having gone through to the Finals from various regional qualifiers.
Alexander played in the 5-6 year old category, where they played two nine-hole rounds on the first day and another on the second.
He was awarded third place after a countback of the leading scores. Now he awaits the tournament at East Lothian next May.
Alexander, who attends Capel Primary School, took up the sport when his mother Claire returned to work after maternity leave.
“It first started when my wife went back to work on my days off,” said his father Paul.
“Whilst he was in daddy day care I didn’t know what to do with him, and I didn’t fancy being the only dad at mum-and-baby groups.
“So I used to take him with me to the driving range. He first started hitting a club when he was two, and began lessons at four years old.”
Mr Dunmall was a member at Lamberhurst Golf Club but has now given up playing to be a caddie for Alexander. “I try to give him advice but, being his dad, he doesn’t always listen to me.”
Alexander has recently joined Kings Hill as a junior member and spends his time at Tonbridge Driving Range, where he is coached by Zachary Marsh of the Mark Janes Golf Academy.
He stands out from his peers because of his strength, which allows him to drive the ball a long way – his personal best is 170 yards.
“He is very strong, and broad in his build,” said Mr Dunmall. “So he has an awful lot of power for his age compared to other children on the circuit.
“It’s not uncommon for him to be able to get the ball from the tee to the green in one, depending on the yardage.
“He is also very driven and competitive,” adds Mr Dunmall. “He loves all sports but he has a talent for hand-eye coordination and he also plays tennis and cricket.”
Mr Marsh invited him to attend the BMW Pro Am day at Wentworth, which fired his ambitions.
“Since getting [English pro] Tommy Fleetwood’s autograph, he wants to follow in his footsteps,” says dad. “If you were to ask him [what his plans are], he would say ‘win every game’.”
PICTURE: FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: Alexander Dunmall on the famous Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews