Wicks beats clock to claim title

David Wicks, of Sedlescombe Golf Club, with the trophy for winning the Sussex Amateur Championship
David Wicks, of Sedlescombe Golf Club, with the trophy for winning the Sussex Amateur Championship

Every second counted for golfer David Wicks before clinching the Sussex County Amateur Championship.

The Sedlescombe GC talent was just 35 seconds away from being disqualified right at the start of the prestigious three-day competition staged at The Nevill GC last weekend.

A golf scholar in the United States, Wicks still had his alarm clock on American time when he woke up on Friday morning just hours after flying in from Portugal.

Realising his mistake, he set off on a mad dash from his brother’s house in Eastbourne to make it to the 10th tee with less than a minute to spare.

Wicks was still hit with a two-shot penalty for missing his 7.40am tee time, but arrived just before 7.45am - after which he would have been kicked out completely.

Seventy-two of the leading players from Sussex battled it out on the first day to qualify for the last 16 knockout stage.

Despite being hampered by his two-shot penalty, Wicks still managed to make the top 16 on the mark at six-over-par following successive two-over-par rounds of 72.

The 20-year-old edged through his last 16 clash against Mike Bullen (Worthing) on Saturday 1 up and his quarter-final was even closer with Wicks finally scraping past Richard Leeves (Crowborough Beacon) at the second extra hole.

The former ARK William Parker Academy pupil saw off the host club’s Reece Hinton 5&4 in the semi-finals and clinched the trophy with a thumping 7&6 win over Jack Bartlett (Worthing) in the final. An on-song Wicks made six birdies in his first 10 holes and was four-under in all.

“I played nicely in the final,” said Wicks. “It was nice to have my family and team members there supporting me as well. It’s one of my top three achievements.”

He was one of three golfers from Sedlescombe to reach the last 16, but Steven Gibbs and Michael Anthony went out at the first knockout stage. Gibbs was beaten 3&2 by Leeves and Anthony was edged out 1 down by Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor).

Wicks has also enjoyed a great season at Midland College in Texas where he is one year into a four-year programme and feels that his game has come on in leaps and bounds.

“My long-term goal is just to enjoy it,” added Wicks. “I’m in a good position right now and if I have a couple of good tournaments something might happen, but there’s millions of people in my position.”