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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Crookall-Nixon set to play at amateur championship just weeks after bad road crash

County golf star Seb Crookall-Nixon has set his sights on winning the English Amateur Championship – just weeks after surviving a horrific road smash.

Seb Crookall-Nixon photo
Seb Crookall-Nixon

The 18-year-old England international admits is lucky to be alive after him and dad Jonathan were involved in an accident on the outskirts of Carlisle last month.

Crookall-Nixon escaped with a broken left collarbone and right wrist and whiplash following the crash, which happened just over a year after his cousin, rugby star James Tincknell, was nearly killed in an accident on the A66.

The youngster, from Papcastle, near Cockermouth, feared his entire season was in tatters, along with the prospects of taking up a golf scholarship at an American university.

But, just five weeks later, he was able to start practising last Sunday and hopes to cap his astonishing return by winning the English Amateur Championship.

The English Golf Union’s oldest competition will be held on Cumbrian soil, with Silloth on Solway and Seascale set to welcome the cream of amateur golfers on July 30 to August 4.

“I’m not going to turn up and hope to do well – I fully expect to win it,” said Crookall-Nixon.

“The English Amateur Championship is my main focus and I want to be back to play in it.

“When the accident happened I thought the season was finished and I wouldn’t be back in time for it.

“I know the level I need to be at and I’m confident I can get there and I’ll be expecting to win.

“I thought the accident had crushed me for the season, but I’m easing myself back into golf a lot sooner than the specialist at the hospital expected.

“It hasn’t been easy and it has been very depressing having to withdraw from so many tournaments. But I am doing everything I can to get back and be as fit as I can. I gripped a club for the first time in five weeks on Sunday on the Isle of Man, and hopefully I’ll be back hitting balls soon. It’s a great feeling.”

Crookall-Nixon admitted dealing with the mental scars has been just as difficult as the physical injuries he suffered in the accident when the new Audi TT which his father Jonathan was test driving was in collision with a camper van on the A6071 at Blackbank.

He said: “It’s not something I ever want to experience again. I genuinely thought, along with my dad, that I wasn’t going to come out of it alive.

“A couple of weeks later I saw the damage to the car and I don’t know how I’m still walking because where I took the impact is completely caved in.

“It was a huge eye-opener and it gave me a chance to spend time with my family because when you’re living life in the fast lane it’s hard to take that step back.”

Crookall-Nixon has enjoyed some remarkable successes since landing the prestigious McGregor Trophy for winning the English Boys Under-16 Championship at High Post in 2008 as a 14-year-old.

The Workington Golf Club member retained the title the following year at Radcliffe on Trent after which he was capped at boys level, having already represented England in under-16 matches.

In 2011, he won the Henriques Salver as the best under 20 player in the Brabazon Trophy, when he finished fourth overall, and this year was an England team member in the Costa Ballena Tournament.

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