Durham’s Steve Hutchinson missed out on winning the World One-Armed Golf Championship on home soil.
It would have been a fitting end to the championship’s second staging at Tynemouth Golf Club, but in something of a David and Goliath final, the Barnard Castle golfer eventually found South African Reinhard Schuhknecht too much.
Schuhknecht took a two-hole early lead but Hutchinson played some wonderful shots, thanks to his incredible short game, before the long hitting of the powerful South African, who plays off six, eventually won the day 6&4.
It was the 80th playing of the championship and the second time Tynemouth has hosted the event.
Paul Whittaker, Tynemouth Golf Club manager, said: “It’s phenomenal. In 2006 the lowest gross score ever recorded in the world by a one-armed golfer was made here and they made it around the course in 71 shots – that still stands as the World Championships best ever score. It was a huge honour to have them back.”
It could well have been an all North East final with Darlington’s Darren Grey getting through to the semi-finals, where he lost to Schuhknecht while Hutchinson played some wonderful golf to beat Chris Wood, another player from South Africa.
Hutchinson lost the use of his right arm after a motorcycle accident in 2005. Four months later he was back playing golf and was picked to represent Europe against America in a Ryder Cup-style event for one-armed players.
He started playing at Catterick Golf Club when he was posted back from Germany with the Army and got his handicap down to five before the accident. He started playing again at Hallgarth on the outskirts of Darlington using just his left arm in a backhanded stroke. Lessons followed with pro Ernie Wilson.
Reinhard lost his arm when he was 14 after he was electrocuted, but somehow manages to hit drives approaching 300 yards.
“This is a very special tournament for me as we are playing other members who have lost their arm and it is equal,” he said.