Luke reflects on Portuguese trip
Monday 20th October 2014 @ 11:58 by Mark Phillip

Despite failing to make an impact at the final of the BMW Junior Golf Championships, Luke Kelly returned to England a happy chappy.

And it’s all down to a trip of a lifetime that saw the talented golfer, along with 20 other finalists, invited to the Portugal Masters.

The highly regarded tournament gave rise to some spectacular solo performances which the band of talented golfers were looking to emulate.

One of those who left a lasting impression was tournament winner, Alexander Levy. The victory ensured the Frenchman returned home with his second European Tour title, following recorded rounds of 63 and 61.

Although the competition was effected by the weather, the rain failed to dampen spirits and Lukes day was made all the more brighter with a complimentary package of Adidas Golf equipment.

The Ashton-Under-Lyne member also got to sample a revamped course, where he and his entourage played the 6,776 yard venue. The bespoke ‘Quinta do Lago’ course is considered number one at the prestigious family resort and Kelly can proudly boast of being one of the first to test it.

Speaking to Reporter Sport on his return to Tameside, the 15 year old told us “I really enjoyed the trip over to Portugal and found it extremely beneficial.

“It was great to be in another country and play alongside other great golfers. I came eighth in the competition which isn’t too great but I’ve got a lot of time to learn so I’m not too disheartened with the finish.”

The youngsters development in the game has been described by club professional Colin Boyle as “absolutely fantastic”. The Ashton stalwart, who has 36 years’ experience to his name, heaped praise on the budding star. He told us “Luke really is a great prospect and his progression over the past year has been noted by a number of people, including our assistant professional who believes he’s got tremendous ability and will only get better.”

Luke’s not the only shining light at the Ashton based course, with 16 year old Louisa Brunt also making shockwaves in the industry. Having nurtured European Tour players from a very young age, it would appear Boyle’s comments bode well for Luke’s future. “Players like Luke are spotted by Lancashire and under the specialist guidance of Gareth Benson, they have an extremely good chance of making a name for themselves” Colin said.

With a redevelopment cost in the region of $9.6m, the course has been built to the highest specifications and is one of the most talked about projects in Europe at the moment. The designers, Beau Welling and Paul McGinley, created the course with one thing in mind; precision.

And it appears as if their intended ideas have come to fruition, with Kelly lauding the grand design. He added “The course was in outstanding condition and I really couldn’t fault it. There were no divots on the fairway and it was a real privilege to play on such a quality surface.”

The curtains might be closing in this year’s campaign, but Kelly has no plans to stop over winter. He told us “I do a lot of practice at weekends during the winter break and often go to driving ranges.

“I’m happy with the way I’ve played this season, so I’m already looking forward to next season!”

Although Luke failed to make an impression on Portuguese soil, he’s more than proved his worth on a number of occasions, which has laid the foundation for a future of success.