Jon Thomson: Sheffield golfer 'close to something special' after Open Championship success

Towering Sheffield golfer Jon Thomson believes he is 'very close to something special' after impressing at his first major.
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The 6ft 9ins 25-year-old, who grew up in Wickersley but now lives in Middlewood with his fiance Olivia, came through Final Qualifying at his home course of Hollinwell, Nottingham to book a spot at the Open Championship then made headlines at Royal St George's with a hole-in-one on the way to making the cut.

He has previously tasted success as a professional, having qualified for the European Tour in 2018 and featured in a playoff at the Made in Denmark tournament the same year, but is currently ranked 742nd worldwide.

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"It’s a nice taste to have and I’ve wanted it back since 2018, said Thomson who spoke to The Star in association with coffee retailer Coffee Friend.

"I have been playing some great golf for a couple of months now, even though my results haven’t really shown it. The Open was just a nice little reminder that I’m putting in the right work.

"I’m very close to something quite special.”

‘Jigger’ played alongside Lee Westwood and world number 10 Harris English in the final two rounds of golf’s oldest tournament, finishing one over par overall after scores of 71, 67, 73 and 70.

He was already well known to the former – the pair were in a four-man playoff for the Made in Denmark crown – but took English by surprise.

Sheffield's Jonathan Thomson in action at The Open at Royal St George's.Sheffield's Jonathan Thomson in action at The Open at Royal St George's.
Sheffield's Jonathan Thomson in action at The Open at Royal St George's.
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Thomson added: “I think he [English] was quite impressed with the game I’ve got and he said that to me after the round. He said ‘just keep doing what you’re doing’.

"It was a real nice touch to know I’m there or thereabouts. It’s about becoming a little bit more consistent in my performances.”

"I took a lot of confidence away from the weekend, playing with two of the best players in the world and knowing that my game is suited. It’s not anywhere miles away from what they are doing.”

Until now, Thomson, a regular visitor to Hillsborough Golf Club, has been best known for being the tallest player in European Tour history – and surviving an “awful” five-year battle with leukemia which began aged just seven.

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Remembering that time, he said: “It’s indescribable to anyone who’s not really been through it, but it puts a great perspective on things for me week in, week out when things are maybe not going to plan.

"The reality is there’s always someone worse off and in a much worse place than you are. We are very fortunate to be doing what we are doing.”

He also has Olivia, his partner of five years, to thank.

“My fiance kept us afloat through these last few lockdowns with her job and me not earning anything,” Thomson said.

"It actually made me able to carry on training and practising in the best way I could."

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As well as Olivia, there’s a nod to his parents Sarah and Nigel, coach Frank Houlgate and close friend turned short-game coach Chris Dennis.

"The team I’ve got around me, it’s rock solid and I’m really happy with it,” he added.

For now, it’s back to the second-tier Challenge Tour. But it may not be long before golf’s gentle giant delivers more big moments.