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Lee Trevino

Roy Clark – the plumber who once startled Lee Trevino

The Texan couldn't believe the score the Stanley amateur produced at the Whitley Bay Classic.
 

Roy Clark, an amateur golfer from County Durham who has died at the age of 80, will be remembered as the plumber who once startled Lee Trevino.

Trevino was in his prime when he played the Whitley Bay Classic in 1970, having already won the first of six Majors.

He had travelled down from Scotland for the Monday tournament, played after The Open finished at St Andrews.

The field, who played 36 holes, featured the likes of Peter Thomson, Neil Coles, Peter Oosterhuis and Maurice Bembridge.

Regional amateurs competed in a separate 18-hole tournament.

Trevino was followed by a gallery of more than 1,000 – appearing thanks to Chris Robinson.

Clark

The Northumberland golf administrator was public relations officer for John Letters, the makers of Trevino’s clubs.

No record was kept of the full scoreboard. Although Bembridge won, Trevino rewarded his fans with a three-under 69 in the afternoon.

Clark, who won the amateur event, was the only other player to shoot a 69.

The two men left the clubhouse without meeting but Trevino was staggered to learn an amateur had matched his score.

The conditions were so blustery he and Oosterhuis took 15 strokes between them on Whitley Bay’s signature 6th hole in the first round.

Trevino said: “He must be one hell of a player. Who is this guy Roy Clark?”

Almost a quarter of a century later, “this guy” was to be recognised as the ultimate prize guy in his county’s golfing history.

In 1996, the Durham County Golf Union hosted a dinner in Clark’s honour at his golf club, South Moor, to celebrate a unique status he achieved that year by winning the first of his three seniors championships.

Clark had become the only Durham player to win every county title available to him in all age ranges.

In the 46 years between 1953 and 1999 he won 14 various county titles. In 1961 he did the double of strokeplay and matchplay titles, one of only three players to pull off the feat in the 108-year history of the county union. He was awarded 42 county caps.

Clark spent his whole life in Stanley, attending Bloemfontein junior and senior schools in Craghead. He became a heating engineer as well as a plumber.

The South Moor member spent the last 45 years of his life living across the road from his club. He is survived by Marion and son Chris.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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