Pride of the North

City of Newcastle Golf Club flew the flag for the North East in winning the English Champion Club title for the first time at East Devon Golf Club.

The 36-hole three-man team tournament, which ended in darkness following a fog delay, saw the Northumberland representatives complete a 14-shot victory over clubs from across England.

The team of Northumberland county champion Phil Ridden (72-67) and fellow county players Alex Dixon (74-71) and Mark Wharton (75-72) shot a team score of 11 over-par including a level-par second round of 210.

But there were plenty of twists along the way before they claimed Northumberland’s first victory in the competition.

“We thought we were jinxed,” said City of Newcastle captain John Franklin. The club had been runners-up in the event twice before, most recently in 2015 when they lost out on countback.

Having played early on the second day and gone off to a local pub in Budleigh Salterton to watch Newcastle United on TV, the team returned to the golf club to find mist coming in over the course and play suspended. The field eventually completed play and City of Newcastle’s victory was confirmed. “This means a great deal to us,” added Franklin. “The game plan was to get three decent scores rather than one exceptional score. The nature of the course was that the number of bogeys, rather than birdies, would win it.”

Norfolk’s Jack Yule of King’s Lynn shot seven under-par for the two rounds to win the individual prize with Ridden second on one under-par.