This year’s Northern Golfer Champions of Champions crowned at Ramside Hall
Three of the North East’s most talented golfers have been crowned the region’s Champions of Champions for 2019.
Tyneside Golf Club’s James Wilson became the first two-time Junior Champion of Champions with his victory over the Cathedral Course at Ramside Hall on the first weekend of events. His six under-par round of 66 from the yellow tees led the field by seven shots as last year’s winner, Whitley Bay’s Rosie Belsham, finished in second place. Seaton Carew’s Cameron Wallace completed the top three with his round of 74.
In the ladies event, held on the same day as the junior event, Whickham Golf Club’s Faye Wheatley led a talented field with a round of 77, one shot clear of Ramside’s Maggie Whitehead. Close House’s Claire Brown, who finished third in 2018, completed the top three.
Seven days later, following a week of torrential rain which saw the course playing incredibly long, Garforth Golf Club’s Josh Bassitt overcame the stern test of the Cathedral Course’s blue tees with a round of 72 – only the third time a player has shot par or better in three years of Northern Golfer hosting the event at Ramside. Josh led an elite field featuring 57 of the north’s best male golfers as Hobson Golf Club’s Andrew Rafferty shot 73 to claim the runner-up spot and James took third place on countback following a round of 74.
James, 20, capped a stellar year of golf with victory in the junior event and a third place finish in the men’s event. He said: “It’s a great felling to finish the year as the Junior Champion of Champions and finish in the top three of the men’s event.
“It was great to get the job done in the junior event . I knew I was one of the favourites coming in, but to go out there and shoot 66 was a nice way to get it done. A win is always going to be a solid finish to the year and being the champion of champions has a nice ring to it.
“I’ve got university golf coming up through the winter and into the start of 2020. From there we’ll see how next summer’s national events go – hopefully I’ll be back for the men’s Champion of Champion event at the end of next year too.”
Faye, 14, is part of the England North Region Squad coached by JJ Vallely and is looking to building on her victory as she steps up to U16 events next season. She said: “It was a massive shock when the final scores came in and I found out I’d won. I started with a birdie and made another one at the fourth, which was a nice start. From there I played really tidy golf on a tough course.
“The event has been a great experience and I’m proud to have my first win in a regional event. I’m looking forward to building on it next year with some good results in national events and it will be good to come back and defend my title.”
Josh, who returned to golf this season after a three year break from the game, paid tribute to Ramside’s green staff and all the caddies and supporters who had been part of the three events when collecting the trophy. He added: “It’s very special to be the champion of club champions from so many clubs around the region.
“I struggled at the start of the year having been inspired to get the clubs back out after watching the Ryder Cup. I bit the bullet and started working with James Whitaker at Garforth Golf Range, which allowed me to build some confidence coming into the final stretch of the season.
“I drove the ball really well today, which was always going to be the key to playing a 7000-yard course which had been soaked by rain.
“I also had some big moments down the stretch. Hitting it into the water at 16 and 17, and making two pars really kept things going. To get a win this season is a fantastic feeling and it has inspired me to work hard this winter and see what I can achieve in 2020.”
This year’s events, supported by partners Brewin Dolphin – one of the largest British investment management and financial planning firms – and hosted by Ramside Hall for a third consecutive year, welcomed more than 100 golfers from clubs in Northumberland, Durham, Teesside, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.
Douglas Montgomerie, consultant at Brewin Dolphin, presented the prizes to the winners and praised the talented golfers who’d been part of the events. He said: “The quality of the golf displayed over these three events has been remarkable. James, Faye and Josh are supremely talented golfers and they are a real credit to golf in our region. Brewin is very proud to have been associated with these events for the first time. We have a rich history in the North East and in our associations with sport in the region, and partnerships like this one with Northern Golfer and Ramside are very important to us. Congratulations to everyone involved in the events.”
Helen Roseberry, Ramside’s director of golf, added: “It’s been another fantastic year of Champion of Champions events and we’ve really enjoyed welcoming so many of the North’s most talented golfers to our club over the two weekends. We’re very proud to be part of these events with Northern Golfer, and now Brewin Dolphin, and look forward to welcoming the region’s best players to Ramside in the future.”
Details of the 2020 events will be announced in the new year.