Harmison just misses out on European golfing title

Ashington born cricketer Stephen Harmison was once the fastest bowler in the world, but last week his uncle Kevin Harmison came close to being the number one disabled golfer in Europe.

Playing in the European Nations Cup at Las Colinas Golfing Country Club in Murcia, Spain, the 48-year-old, from East Sleekburn and already the number one in England, competed in both the team and singles event.

Alongside Duncan Hamilton-Martin; Mark Smith and Robert Johnson, England came third in the team tournament.

However it was in the singles where Harmison really shone and he admitted that he had harboured thoughts of coming out on top.

Charles Henri Guiter from France took the crown with a score of 149 against Harmison’s 155 as he came third.

“At the end of the day I only lost by six shots,” he said.

“I always think I have got a chance of winning any tournament, and on the second day I got to within two shots of Charles before he pulled away.

“However, the fact I got so close will spur me on for the next time.”

Harmison’s handicap, which was 3.4, is now down to 1.6, and he added: “I think I’m a much better player now.

“It’s great that I have established myself as the number one in England. That in itself is the hardest part – aiming to be at the top in your own country.

“But I’ve been away and played against the European number one and two players over two days and I’m pretty chuffed with my achievement.

“To play for England is the pinnacle of anybody’s career and I enjoy it.”

Harmison, who enjoyed a family holiday in Spain with his wife Diane and daughters Meagan and JessiKa before the competition, believes his golfing opponents have a major advantage.

“They have full-time coaches, which is a massive advantage to them,” he said.

“The coach will tell them where they are going wrong, whereas if we want to employ a coach it will cost a lot of money.”