A golfing year to remember

It may have been a year to forget in certain circles, but 2016 has been another great year for our region’s golfers

Graeme Storm got the help of Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and his fellow European tour players to launch his first junior event and Ryder Cup legend Bernhard Gallacher visited Blackwell Grange.

Yorkshireman Danny Willett shocked the golfing world by winning The Masters, Graeme Storm hosted his first Junior Open at Hartlepool, and Stephanie Peareth shared her hopes for the future.

Andy Scrimshaw got his season off to a fast start with three pro wins, City of Newcastle won the Inter-County Foursomes, Westerhope GC kicked off its 75th anniversary celebrations, and Northumberland’s Phil Ridden became England’s lowest-handicapped golfer.

Dustin Johnson won his first major at the US Open, Rebecca McGinley told us about long driving and her hopes as a Ladies European Tour player, Andrew Gibson won Northumberland’s Strokeplay Championship as Kris Rae and Rebecca Horner won Durham’s County Championships, and Matt Fitzpatrick won the Nordea Masters to set his path to The Ryder Cup.

Henrik Stenson won one of the finest Sunday showdowns in Open Championship history as Jimmy Walker won the US PGA Championship. We caught up with Jack Hermeston as he returned from his first season in the US, Mark Wharton won Northumberland’s County Championship, Mat Webb won his first national title alongside Alex Belt, Matthew Cort won the EuroPro Tour’s Dawson and Sanderson Classic at Longhirst Hall, Northern Golfer won its own charity day (again) in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice and stars of sport and television joined Steve Cram at Slaley Hall for the annual COCO charity day, as Nicky Bell won the Cumbria Matchplay title.

Justin Rose won the Olympic gold medal, England international James Wilson shared his dreams with us, Briony Bayles won the St Andrews Junior Ladies Open, Richard James won the EuroPro Tour’s Lookers Championship at Close House, James Wilson won the Durham Matchplay title, Yorkshireman Dan Brown won the English Amateur Championship, three of the North East’s best pros made the trip to Carnoustie for the Senior Open Championship, Brad Robinson won the Faldo Series event at St Andrews, and Mat Webb captured the PGA Assistants’ Championship.

The US triumphed on home soil in The Ryder Cup. Following her St Andrews win, Briony Bayles starred on our cover, Sam Donald won the Northern Masters at Rockliffe Hall, league golf’s winners – Close House, Ramside Hall, City of Newcastle, Wynyard and Bamburgh – were crowned, Rebecca McGinley won the UK Long Drive Championship, Whitby were named England Golf Team champions, Consett came through a thrilling match to make it to the last 16 of the Mail on Sunday Classic, Rockliffe Hall’s James Maw collected his first EuroPro Tour win, brother and sister Lucca and Ella Jackson triumphed at St Andrews and Wynyard, and Yorkshire won the Northern Counties title.

The King, Arnold Palmer passed away, Close House was announced as the host venue for the 2017 British Masters, Briony Bayles won the Northern Golfer Junior Champion of Champions, Dinsdale Spa won the Lombard Trophy, Jonathan Caldewll won the final regular season event of the EuroPro Tour season at Moor Allerton, David Clark and Andrew Richardson shared top spot at the NE/NW PGA Tour Championship, Steven Hutchinson helped Europe win the Fightmaster Cup, Yorkshire won the English Men’s County Championship, and Northern Golfer columnist Chris Paisley secured his European Tour card with a third place finish in Italy.

Graeme Storm secured his tour card in dramatic fashion, some of the region’s best youngsters starred in England Schools’ win over Scotland, Marcus Armitage won on the Challenge Tour and captured a European Tour card, Ripon City won the Inter League as Roseberry Grange won the Rabbits League in the North East Rabbits Golf Association, and Mat Webb finished a remarkable year with victory in Australia before featuring on our cover.