Andrew Minnikin wins fourth Northumberland County Championship title

Andrew Minnikin came through a testing week at Ponteland Golf Club to lift the Northumberland County Championship trophy for the fourth time – beating Ponteland-based Russell Hayhoe 5&3 in the 36-hole final.

Andrew, from City of Newcastle Golf Club, led the strokeplay qualifying for the event – shortened to 18 holes – and collected the George Renwick Medal before going on to progress through four matches and win back the trophy he last picked up in 2021.

“It feels incredible to be a four-time county champion,” said Andrew. “I’ve been on a bit of a hot streak this season, so I came into the week with high expectations. It’s a great feeling to have come in playing so well, led qualifying, and then seen it through to the end.

“Having those high expectations, being able to draw on my experience and manage each round and match as I would any other event was really important. I stuck to the processes which have served me well over the years and they worked well again this time around.

“I’m really happy with the way I thought through everything this week. While I didn’t execute every shot perfectly, my thought processes and decisions were strong all week.”

In the final, Andrew and Russell were all-square after the first 18 holes and the match remained close heading for the turn in the afternoon. At the seventh, Andrew began a stellar run of five birdies in seven holes to pull clear, eventually seeing out the match 5&3 at the par three 15th.

“I think the experience I’ve built up over the years played a huge part this week, as did lots of good practice in the last few months. My caddy, Ian Ratcliffe, also played a huge role in the final and once again did the role superbly.

“Playing a very strong player in Russell, around his home course, was always going to be tough – particularly in the strong wind and rain. To make that run late in the day was a great way to get over the line and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year with this one under my belt,” added Andrew – who will represent Northumberland in England Golf’s Men’s County Champion of Champions event at Woodhall Spa later this year – which he won on his last visit in 2021.