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Golf family’s star turn grows into county title 

EDDIE Kelly just managed to squeeze into a single figure handicap after taking up golf at the Fairfield club in Audenshaw.

No shame there. But no hint either of the pedigree golfing dynasty he has created in Greater Manchester through son Mike and grandson Luke, both members of Ashton-under-Lyne.

Mike is a former England Schools international who has captured the Ashton club championship 11 times and holds the course record with nine-under 61.

Luke, 19, and a former England Under-16 player, has just won the four-round Lancashire amateur championship.

This is a trophy Tommy Fleetwood lifted as a 17-year-old ten years ago. There seemed little hope for Luke after he opened with a 74 at West Lancs, leaving him tied 17thand six shots off the lead.

He started round two with five birdies on the front nine, rattling the flagstick with a 110-yard sand wedge to the ninth and signed for six-under 66, putting him two shots clear of the field at halfway.

That eight-stroke swing set up Luke for eventual victory with his chirpy 12-year-old brother Freddie, already a ten handicapper, on his bag.

Luke’s older brother Adam, 28, a former scratch golfer, is the commercial manager of the Professional Darts Corporation.

In two years the 6ft 3in and 11st 4lb Luke has gained a stone and a half and grown six inches.

Coach Gareth Benson, who runs the Formby Hall Academy, said: “There has been a spell when Luke’s   bones were growing faster than his ligaments and tendons. Until relatively recently this caused problems with his hamstrings, balance and consistency.

“But now Luke has filled out, he has more core strength and control and is getting extra distance.  He is a model pupil, self-sufficient and a tough competitor who never freezes when the big chance arises. He has a winning mentality and always goes for it.”

A former pupil at West Hill School in Stalybridge, Luke wants to become a Tour pro and works a three-day week at a welding supplier to increase practice time.

Another target is to qualify for The Open Championship and the first of the two stages this year is on June 25 with Regional Qualifying back on the West Lancs course where he won the county title.

Like dad Mike, Luke holds a course record – eight-under 63 at Warrington.