New Malden Restaurateur Charles Seo has rolled back the years to win the over 45 category of the American Golf U.K. Long Drive Championship. Seo, 49, blasted a series of enormous drives – including one of 410 yards - to take down the best senior long drivers that Europe has to offer in one of the most hotly contested Long Drive events ever recorded. Seo now goes on to represent American Golf and the U.K. in the World Championships in the U.S. next month.
After securing victory Seo, who owns a restaurant in Soho and is about to open a second on Shaftsbury Avenue, commented, “I’ve been playing golf for over 40 years and this really is my dream come true. I’ve always been the longest hitter between my friends and thought I would be good at long drive, but to actually win the American Golf U.K. Championship is an amazing feeling. I’ve come so close over the last 3 years. I lost in the final in 2015 and the semi-final in 2016 so I’ve been training hard for this year. I came up with my own special training in the swimming pool to improve my flexibility and it’s all paid off. I will just carry on working hard now and if I hit as well in the World Championships I will have a real chance.”
It was clear from the seeding rounds that the bar was going to be set high. In the first set the Championship record was smashed by William Hunt-Tyrell who sent out a 413 yard monster. Seo held his nerve though, qualifying tied 4th with a huge 377 yard drive. The quarter finals brought Seo up against Steve Kent, the man who beat him in the final of the 2015 Championship. Seo found his best form to brush past the Welshman, releasing his personal best drive of 410 yards on the way to the semi’s. The semi-final against top qualifier Hunt-Tyrell was a tense affair which went to 3 sets. Seo’s 393 yard winner was eventually enough to take him through to the final against 2016 runner up David Willmore.
Despite some huge hits, nerves got the better of Willmore as he struggled for direction in the final. Seo took the first set comfortably as Willmore couldn’t find his best form, before Willmore failed to hit the scoring grid in the second set. Seo stepped up needing just to get a ball in play and hit a ‘safety first’ drive of 337 yards to record a 2 set victory and book his place in the World Championships next month.
Daniel Gathercole, Director of marketing and communications at American Golf commented after the thrilling finals, “We started the American Golf U.K. Long Drive Championships 3 years ago to encourage more people to get out hitting balls and having some fun. This year we’ve had over 5000 people take part and this really has become the premier long drive event in Europe. It’s such a competitive environment but every player has shown fantastic sportsmanship and support for each other. I’m very proud of what American Golf has achieved with this Championship and hope to go even bigger with it next year.”
All three category finals of the American Golf U.K. Long Drive Championship will be shown on Sky Sports with the first airing on 17th October. Entry to the Long Drive Championships and all of American Golf’s Championships are absolutely free and are key to the nationwide retailer’s drive to get more people hitting more balls, more often. After watching the fireworks of this weekend’s competition it turns out that for 2017 those balls have been going a very long way!