There was more than meets the eye to Marcus Armitage's highly moving interview after his first Challenge Tour victory which got him onto the European Tour
Going into the Foshan Open Marcus Armitage wasn’t looking like even making it to the end-of-season Grand Final in Oman – come the end of the week he had pretty much wrapped up his European Tour card.
Earlier in the season his performance coach Duncan McCarthy gave him the goal of not making any double bogeys over the course of the week, the next week Armitage finished second in Northern Ireland.
In China ‘The Bullet’ posted one but there were 23 birdies and an eagle which gave him a one-shot win, to date his only victory on the Challenge Tour.
When Armitage was just 14 he lost his mum, Jean, to cancer after she battled with four different forms of the disease. Golf gave him a tiny escape from the grief and he would play all day at Oldham before later crossing the Pennines and joining Howley Hall.
People say time’s a great healer but this came 15 years after his mum died and the mere mention of his dad, as it would, makes any sentence hard to finish. Given the usual fare of processes, putts and patience this is gold dust – not just for the obvious emotion of it all but how it’s impossible not to let your mind run away with itself.
The coach he mentions, Anthony Sheehy, is someone to whom Armitage owes plenty. Two weeks before Final Qualifying at St Annes last year Sheehy’s mum, Margaret, also died of cancer.
“Anthony protected me a lot with his mum. He wouldn’t give me information because I don’t think he wanted to draw anything up from my past,” explained Armitage. “But the qualifying day felt a bit spiritual. I felt like Margaret was with me there at times, I felt like my mum was there at times too. Exactly how my mum passed away is how Anthony‘s mum passed away and some weird stuff happened and I just felt very calm.”
Armitage made it through to Carnoustie to play in his first Open.
This season he’s back on the Challenge Tour and trying to get his career going again. His European Tour rookie season ended up with the odd nugget but he missed out on a return ticket by some distance though, talent and ball-striking wise, there should be plenty more to come from him.