Wiltshire star Martin Sell headed for Australia last month as a member of the England team competing in the Lake Macquarie tournament and the New South Wales Medal.
He joined English champion Gary Lockerbie, Sam Osborne and Matthew Richardson – fellow members of England’s elite group – on their first visits Down Under for the two 72-hole tournaments.
This promises to be the busiest year yet for the 24-year-old full-time amateur from Swindon club Wrag Barn. He has already experienced a week’s sunshine training with the full England squad in South Africa.
The 72-hole Lake Macquarie event was played at Belmont Golf Club on January 23 followed a week later by the NSW Medal.
Last year Sell won the Hampshire Hog and Hampshire Salver, finished runner-up in the West of England Stroke Play Championship and Selborne Salver and reached the third round of the Amateur Championship.
His target this year is to secure a place in England’s home international team.
Sell first came to prominence when he reached the final of the British Amateur at Royal Porthcawl in 2002. He has since made steady progress and plays off plus-three.
He became the first Wiltshire player to achieve representative honours for England since star European Tour player David Howell and ex-English amateur champion Gary Harris in 1995.
Former Gloucestershire star Gary Wolstenholme received a special invitation to make his seventh appearance in the Lake Macquarie field.
Lee Corfield from Burnham and Berrow joined Sell at the Fancourt Resort near George, scene of the President’s Cup, and home to superstar Ernie Els.
They took part in the English Golf Union world-class performance programme aimed at giving the elite squad the opportunity to train among quality facilities in a suitable climate.
Apart from playing and practising, the players were backed by a support team comprising national coach Keith Williams, technical coach David Ridley, psychologist Brian Hemmings and physiotherapist Paul Darby.
Individual playing and training schedules were set for each player and targets set for the major international amateur events for 2004.
Corfield’s task this year will be to regain the England place he lost last year.
He has continued to practise at every opportunity over the Burnham links.
And he loves playing with the local professionals. He won his most recent event organised over the nine-hole course at Burnham by Gloucester and Somerset PGA secretary David Haines, the Brean professional and current West Region PGA captain.
He and home assistant Stuart Martin won the holiday fun competition.
The pairs shot two-under-par 32 for the first nine in a Texas Scramble and five-under 30 in a better-ball second nine.
Martin picked up two shots before Corfield birdied three of the final four holes.
They finished on eight-under 62, two clear of Farrington pair Jon Cowgill and Steve Ritchie.
Marcus Higley (Yeovil) and John Goymer (Wheathill) shared third with Taunton and Pickeridge pro Gary Milne and amateur partner Chris Nicholls.