Golf champion Harry Callow, 8, inspired by Happy Gilmore

Golf champion, 8, wins Masters tournament

Goodwood golfer Harry Callow says he was inspired to take up the sport after watching the film Happy Gilmore.

Earlier this month the eight-year-old stormed to a 17-shot victory in the Junior Masters Golf Tournament at Lichfield Golf & Country Club.

He also shot the lowest score of the tournament in all age groups - his first championship title of the season.

"When I got my first clubs I went to the range and wanted to hit it as far as Gilmore," he told BBC South Today.

"I didn't think I'd hit it as far but I was hitting the pitching wedge 25 yards and my three wood about 60 yards. From that point I always wanted to be a golfer."

Harry, from Midhurst, has won seven of the eight events he has entered so far this season and was given his first set of golf clubs for his fifth birthday.

He was attracted to the sport after watching the popular film that the tells the story of an ice hockey player who turns to golf and adopts an unconventional style.

Golfer, 8, 'speechless' after victory

Callow's first aim was to hit as far as the character Gilmore, but after becoming a success in the sport he has been inspired over the last 12 months by US Open champion Justin Rose, who he had a master class from last season.

Rose was so impressed with the youngster's natural flair for the game that the pair exchanged mobile numbers and the Florida-based Ryder Cup star has sent him tips and words of encouragement throughout the season.

"We've been tweeting each other about how well he played," said Callow. "He's been 'favouriting' some of the tweets I'm mentioned in.

"It makes me very happy, I'm pretty amazed I have so many followers."

The 36-hole Junior Masters event aims to replicate the experience of a professional golf tour, so it is played over four days with junior girls and boys from five to 17 years old competing in one of four categories.

"Last day I shot 32, that was the best score, so I was a bit speechless," Callow said.

The format of the tournament has given Callow valuable practice as later this year he will compete in the Callaway World Junior Championships from 14-18 July 2014 at the world famous Torrey Pines venue.

Callow, who aims to get down to an 18 handicap by the age of nine, will also play at the US Kids World Golf Championship from 31 July-3 August at the equally famous Pinehurst Course in North Carolina.

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