Minnikin makes his mark at Men’s County Champion of Champions

Andrew Minnikin continued Northumberland’s success in national events with victory in the English Men’s County Champion of Champions at Woodhall Spa.

City of Newcastle-based Andrew shot rounds of 70 and 69 for a seven under-par total to claim his first national individual title.

Andrew is no stranger to lifting silverware at county level and has won team titles with City of Newcastle, but national success had eluded him in his decorated career. Earlier this year he finished second to clubmate Phil Ridden in the Logan Trophy (English Mid Amateur), his second runner-up finish in the event. This time he got his hands on the trophy with a superb closing nine which included birdies at 17 and 18.

“It feels fantastic,” said Andrew after picking up the trophy. “I’ve played in a number of national events as an individual over the years and had a little bit of success, a couple of second places, but never quite got it over the line – so this feels amazing.

“I’m not a leaderboard watcher, but every now and then I asked my caddie Ian ‘what do I need to do?’ I felt in control of my game, which is nice and I was stroking the ball well on the greens so I knew that if I needed to find a couple of birdies I had the potential to do that.

“It was nice to get the job done. It’s strange because I didn’t have things going this morning and holed a couple of putts to get a little bit of momentum and then a good finish to the round allowed me to find something. This afternoon I played well and didn’t quite get everything out the round that I could have, but a couple of solid birdies on the last two holes helped seal it. I didn’t make mistakes and that was quite pleasing.”

Andrew continued Northumberland’s recent success – which you can read about throughout Teeing Off in this edition – and he added: “At the moment we have a crop of young juniors and a good six or seven in the men’s squad are peaking at the same time. The team spirit is fantastic, and we all want success. It’s been long overdue from the 1960s and the Alan Thirlwell, Jimmy Hayes, David Moffat days. If we can bring more success back to Northumberland at the end of this year it will be fantastic.”

Meanwhile, Northumberland’s Morgan Blythe added to his own stellar season with a T5 finish in the Boys County Champion of Champions  event at Woodhall Spa.

Pictured: Andrew Minnikin (CREDIT Leaderboard Photography)