Golf: Hickory victory puts Valentine on top of world

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A LOTHIANS-BASED director of golf is the new world hickory golf champion, following in the spikemarks of Lloyd Saltman by claiming the coveted crown.

Rick Valentine, the director of golf at Loretto School, won the 2012 World Hickory Open over the Monifieth and Carnoustie Burnside courses.

Valentine opened with a 75 at Monifieth and then carded an 81 over the Carnoustie Burnside course to tie 2010 champion, Perry Sommers, on 156 before defeating his Australian rival on the sixth hole of a 
sudden-death play-off.

It turned out to be a successful event for the Loretto Golf Academy because Valentine also teamed up with two of his pupils, George Sutherland and John Dunn-Butler, to win the concurrent team prize.

The World Hickory Open was inaugurated in 2005 and 
has since become popular across Europe and the United States.

Under the rules of the competition, competitors must use 
either clubs made before 1935 or replicas of clubs manufactured before that date.