Durham’s best

Two of Durham’s best young players picked up titles to end their 2018 seasons as James Lusk won the Mizuno Race2Rockliffe and Jack Atkinson won the Durham County Junior Champion of Champions title.

Chester-le-Street’s James lifted the Mizuno Race2Rockliffe gross title at Rockliffe Hall as Whitburn’s Neve Pearson won the nett prize.

Coached by Northern Golfer’s Doug Brolls at Cocken Lodge, James’ progression has been remarkable since choosing to concentrate on his golf in the summer of 2017. Since then he has gone from finishing in last place in the U13 Junior Golf Tour event at Seaton Carew to winning the Race2Rockliffe title – reducing his handicap from 28 to 6.3 in just 18 months.

He said: “The Race2Rockliffe was definitely the highlight of my season and I’m really proud to have won the event. My goal this year was to get my handicap down to nine, so I’ve smashed that and want to reduce it further next season.

“I couldn’t have improved this much as quickly without the support of my coach Doug, all the guys at Cocken Lodge and United Carlton.”

Meanwhile, Darlington Golf Club-based Jack lifted the Durham County champions title at Brancepeth Castle Golf Club with a score of 74 as South Moor’s Josh Hogarth finished second a shot further back. James took third place with his round of 79.

Jack said: “Winning the champions event was a really good experience to finish off a successful year. This year I’ve also won my first major at Darlington, the 36-hole Blaylock Cup with scores of 67 and 66, and reduced my handicap from 14.8 to 5.6. Next year I want to get into the Durham junior team and reduce my handicap even further.”