2019 brought us international success, national honours and another year of the North East’s golfers shining brightly at all levels of the game. Here’s our pick of the highlights from the last 12 months…
Celebrations got underway for Alnmouth Golf Club’s 150th anniversary year as the new Rules of Golf presented a few teething problems. The year got off to a fast start for Callum Tarren in the US while closer to home, Danny Willett visited Cleveland Golf Club to open the club’s new driving range.
Jess Baker, Rosie Belsham and Caitlin Whitehead were included in the England girls’ squad as the England Golf North Region girls won their triangular match against Yorkshire and the North West at Moortown. John Harrison picked up his first win of the year in the NENW PGA’s Andalucia Pro Am and Matty Lamb signalled his intentions for the year ahead with a string of top finishes in Australia, Portugal and Spain.
The European Tour announced the British Masters would return to Close House in 2020. On the national stage, Jess Baker and Rosie Belsham got the season underway with top 10 finishes in a string of national events, Matty Lamb won the prestigious Hampshire Hog tournament and Cameron Wallace won the English and Welsh Universities Championship. Durham’s Amy Burton picked up a hat-trick of titles in seven days, and Eaglescliffe’s Tom Smith and Will Skipp won the Northumberland and Durham Inter-County Foursomes Championship.
Rosie Belsham broke multiple records as she won her first national title, the Fairhaven Trophy, by 20 shots with a four-round total of 23 under-par. Ladies county champions were crowned as Niamh Lendrum won the Northumberland title, Alex Stevenson won in Durham and Harriet Barker won the Cumbria title. Michael Thompson won the Durham County Matchplay title, Yorkshireman David Hague won the 50th edition of the Seaton Salver and Graeme Storm’s junior open at Hartlepool brought together more than 100 juniors.
We celebrated the success of Girls Golf Rocks as Libby Bell and Rachel Gourley made their England debuts, and Rosie Belsham represented England in Germany. Callum Tarren teed it up in the US Open at Pebble Beach and Matty Lamb came within a shot of winning the St Andrews links Trophy. Amy Burton won the Mini-Storm Trophy Series title at Wynyard. Mark Wharton won the Northumberland County Championship and David Clark won the Northumberland and Durham Open. Will Skipp retained the Durham County Boys title as Angus Buchanan won the Northumberland title. Zara Naughton, Rachel Gourley and Lois Blythe teamed up to win the North of England Schools title.
Andrew Wilson won the EuroPro Tour event at Linden Hall before qualifying for The Open at Royal Portrush, making the cut and finishing 32nd. City of Newcastle won the Northumberland Teams Championship. Rachel Gourley won the English Schools National U16 Girls title as Dyke House Academy’s Jack Burton, Louis Westmoreland and Will Skipp won the Team Championship. Yorkshire’s Ben Schmidt won the Brabazon and Carris trophies. Maggie Whitehead won the Northumberland Junior Girls title as Kitana Hollins won the Durham event, and Jack Ainscough won the Durham County Strokeplay Championship.
Northumberland won the Big Six at Alnmouth. Durham won the Northern Federation Junior Championship at Eaglescliffe and City of Newcastle Golf Club won its fifth consecutive Newcastle & District league title. Alex Wrigley secured a place in the GB&I PGA Cup team while John Harrison won the NENW PGA Championship. Rachel Gourley led England’s U16s to victory over Switzerland as Rosie Belsham, Jess Baker and Caitlin Whitehead helped England’s Girls win the Home Internationals. Josh Berry retained the North of England U14 Championship at South Moor and Katie Sibley won the North Region Close Championship at Silloth.
We crowned our Champions of Champions at Ramside. James Wilson won the junior title, Faye Wheatley won the ladies title and Josh Bassitt won the men’s event. Northumberland were beaten by the final putt at the County Finals and City of Newcastle was crowned England’s champion club. England’s seniors won the Home Internationals at Alnmouth and Matty Lamb helped the men’s team win their Home Internationals. John Harrison won the NENW PGA order of merit with victory in the Tour championship as Will Marshall captured the Durham OOM title and Nicky Lee-Shield won the Durham Junior OOM. Northumberland won the Northern Junior Golf Tour Grand Final and Heworth won the Clark Cup.
City of Newcastle’s Phil Ridden, Alex Dixon and Andrew Minnikin completed their year of success by being crowned European champions at Golf du Medoc Resort near Bordeaux. Maggie Whiehead made her England U16s debut alongside Rachel Gourley as England were beaten by Ireland, Malton & Norton Golf Club won a third consecutive North East Rabbits Golf Association Inter title as Roseberry Grange won the Rabbits title. Ken Ferrie won the Albatross Events Ryder Cup Anniversary Pro Am at Le Golf National and Aaron Mohun won the Lookers Junior Masters at Close House.