Durham win first Northern Counties Seniors’ title

Durham’s senior team lifted their first Northern Counties Seniors’ title on the Isle of Man – earning a debut in the national finals in October.

Durham topped the leaderboard in the Seniors’ Qualifying Championship at Castletown to earn a trip to the England Golf Senior Men’s County Finals at Thorpeness on October 10-12.

“What a day,” said captain Mark Thorp. “I’m beyond chuffed.”

Durham’s six-man team of John Kirkpatrick, Anthony Black, Nicholas Mansell, Brian Nelson, Nigel King and Ian Hendry posted a team total of 740 (five scores from six counting) to beat Yorkshire by just two shots as Cumbria finished third on 745. Cheshire were next on 753, one ahead of Lancashire, with Northumberland on 767 and the Isle of Man on 784.

John was the star of the show with two rounds of 69 for a six under-par total – earning him the individual honours.

“England should really be considering picking John,” added Mark. “His score was phenomenal. He wanted to go first and maybe he felt he had point to prove to the selectors.

“It was an unbelievable performance when you consider what we were competing against. It was not only an amazing performance by all the players, but also from all those back home passing on their support.

“We’ve had a good two years and we have a great squad of players, which makes my job as captain so much easier. We get great support from the county executive, and we are very much Team Durham. We’re going to give it our best shot down at Thorpness in October.”

Mark is already planning Durham’s national campaign, with a visit to Thorpness planned to check out the course and foursomes warm-up matches in the books.

Meanwhile, Durham’s men’s team had to settle for fourth place in men’s qualifying event (AKA the Big Six) at Mount Murray – also on the Isle of Man.

Hopes were high after last year’s runners-up spot, but Yorkshire took the title again with a score of 847, two clear of Cheshire as Lancashire finished third on 856.

Cheshire’s Dan Hayes shot rounds of 67 and 68 to win the individual title.