Chris is more than Handy

The Durham County Championship trophy finally resides in the Handy household.

It could have been there 20 years ago with James Handy’s name on it, but this year his 20-year-old son Chris added his name to the list of winners.

James, a former Durham County captain, lost a playoff to Stuart Ord in 1996 at South Moor and a bogey at the last three years later saw him miss out again at Barnard Castle.

Chris ended South Moor’s 43-year wait for a champion when he beat Hartlepool’s Jack Ainscough in a playoff at Wynyard.

He posted a superb six under-par 66 in the final round to tie Ainscough with a championship record 10 under-par before winning the three-hole playoff.

“My dad was there to watch and he came straight over to congratulate me,” said Chris. “I’d heard all about what happened when he went close a couple of times so I’m really pleased.”

Handy’s opening 74 left him chasing 17-year-old James Wilson from Tyneside – who eventually finished third – and Ainscough, also 17.

Rounds of 70 and 68 put him right back in the mix before a final 66.

“I started with three birdies in a row and made a really great par on the fourth where I was in the trees,” he said. “I hit it on to the second fairway and then hit a wedge to 20ft and holed it for a par which kept me going.

“I made birdie again on the next and had a lot of opportunities after that but didn’t hole many. I kept going and did make a few birdies on the back nine.”
In the playoff, Handy birdied the 16th as Ainscough made bogey before the 17th was shared in pars. At the 18th, Handy made a solid par while Ainscough was bunkered twice and made bogey to mean the trophy returned to South Moor.