TEACHER Scot Minto set himself the target of sharpening his golf game this year so that he could enter and “do well” in a few Yorkshire Order of Merit events.
And after taking part in the Cobble Hall Scratch at Leeds, the 28-year-old can write on his report card: “Can’t do any better”.
For the Hanging Heaton player shot rounds of 66 and 71 to win by four shots from Astbury’s Max Rogers with Leeds’s Nick Dalby two shots further adrift.
Minto is an avid footballer and was with Leeds United until being released at the age of 14.
“I’ve got a slight heart defect so I was always going to struggle to make it long-term as a professional,” he said. “So many come and go at that age.”
The ailment has not prevented him playing football matches both days of the weekend although this has impinged on his ability to reach his potential at golf.
However, last year he decided he was going to “give it a go” in an attempt to get down to scratch.
“I got down to two last year and then I got to 0.7 earlier this year,” he said.
“I’m battling to get to scratch, but it’s very difficult.
“Playing in a few Yorkshire Order of Merit events – that was my aim for the season, to try and do well in them.”
He had four birdies in his first-round 66 at Leeds and only one bogey – at the last.
Nevertheless, he had a two-shot lead at the halfway stage, although as an early starter he was unaware of this fact.
In the afternoon he felt he played just as well, but commented: “With the 71 my putter just went a bit cool on me.
“I probably missed seven or eight putts from between eight and 10ft for birdies whereas in the morning they were going in.
“I had a couple of early bogeys in the afternoon when I bogeyed three and four, but Huddersfield’s Josh Morton, a pal of mine, was playing alongside me.
“When he started making a few birdies it kind of gave me a kick up the backside. He had the best round in the afternoon.”
Minto and Morton are friends with the latter also having been a member at Hanging Heaton until moving on to Huddersfield.
“I had it in my head that if I shot 70 in the aternoon and lost I’d be disappointed,” continued Minto.
“When I shot 71 everyone said, ‘Oh you’ll win it with that’, because it had got a bit windy in the afternoon. I wasn’t counting my chickens although I won it by four in the end.
“I went home and twiddled my thumbs for about two hours waiting for them to ring me.”
Minto has been a member at Hanging Heaton since “I was about 10 or 11” and has been the scratch team captain since he was 17.
“I’ve won a few bits and bobs,” he said modestly when asked about any achievements prior to his Cobble Hall Scratch win. “I also made my (Yorkshire Inter-District League) debut for Halifax-Huddersfield recently.”
Minto has been busy preparing an eBay advert to sell his almost brand new Nike three-wood, the purchase of which has been made redundant by his prowess with his 17 degree rescue club that he can hit about 270 yards off the tee.
“The strength of my game is I’m quite a long hitter,” he said. “I’m also pretty strong with my irons, but my driver can be a bit hit and miss.
“I can carry about 230-235 yards with a four iron – but the weak part of my game tends to be on the green.
“If the putter behaves I can go low, but I suppose that’s the same as anyone.”
Cookridge Hall’s Tom Broxup sat atop the Order of Merit standings after the Cobble Hall Scratch event with 690pts, aided by his win of the Hawksworth Trophy at The Bradford.
Selby’s Rob Wardle stood fifth while Moortown’s Ben Firth – the runner-up of the overall 2015 series – was in eighth place.