Promising Leeds golfer Ben Sardo has been told that if he keeps working hard and playing regularly then a career trajectory akin to teen sensation Matt Fitzpatrick, is not beyond the realms.
That’s the message from Yorkshire captain Daryl Berry, who has named 18-year-old Sardo in his team for the county’s huge Roses clash with Lancashire at Selby on Saturday.
Yorkshire go into the game on the back of an opening win to the Northern Counties season earlier this month that was witnessed by Fitzpatrick, the Sheffield teenager who won the silver medal at the Open and the US Amateur title last summer.
Twelve months ago, Fitzpatrick was lining up in Berry’s Yorkshire team in a Northern Counties fixture before his whirlwind summer sent his fortunes rocketing.
Sheffield’s Fitzpatrick is now bound for the professional game with the US Open next month his final act in the apprentice ranks.
And his journey offers a tantalising glimpse into what could happen to a fellow teenager like Moor Allerton’s Sardo, who broke into the county team last year after a stellar summer with Leeds’ Inter-District side.
Berry said: “What has happened to Matt in the last year shows our younger guys, like Ben, that if you play and play, and work and work, all it takes is a little break and the doors can open up.
“Matt actually took over as captain for the first game against Durham as I had to replace someone who was injured and he took to it very well.
“He was putting his experience across to the guys about course management, which coming from a teenager is great.”
On Sardo’s development, Berry added: “Ben is turning into a good strong player.
“He’s very gritty which is what you need in a team like this.
“He doesn’t let things get on top of him, which is something that in the past he may have done.”
Those mental attributes are what has stood Fitzpatrick in good stead over the course of a rollercoaster 12 months.
They are also the strengths Berry looks for when naming a team to try and beat Lancashire for the first time in three years.
“What we’re trying to teach these younger lads is that it’s not all about hitting great shots every time, it’s about getting around a golf course,” continued Berry, who has turned to former Yorkshire Amateur champion and 40-something Nigel Sweet to add an experienced hand to his 12-man team.
“That’s why a lot of us older guys can still play and compete.
“When these younger guys are hot, then we don’t have as much of a chance. But when they’re not on it on a given day, then it’s about grinding out a result.
“Nigel Sweet is just a very experienced player who is still very good at golf. Sometimes you need those types of guys in the team.”
Joining Sardo and Sweet in the Yorkshire team this Saturday are: Joe Dean, Daniel Wasteney, Jonathan Thompson (Lindrick); Martin Brown, Craig Smith (Pike Hills); Jamie Bowe (Mesham); Ben Brewster (Bawtry); Jamie Harrison (Rotherham); Nigel Colbeck (Cleckheaton); and Jack Lampkin (Ilkley).
Berry added: “We need to beat them this year, they’ve had the hex over us the last couple of years.”