GOLF: Gilkes duo grab cup glory at Kingsthorpe

Gary Boyd
Gary Boyd

Net birdies on the last two holes helped Northampton’s Mark Gilkes and Charlotte Gilkes lift the NGL Generation Cup on countback at Kingsthorpe GC.

The duo bagged 15 greensomes points in the nine-hole competition to gain the verdict from another father and daughter combination of Jon Critchley and Ashleigh Critchley (Kettering).

Although Rayner Edwards and Caitlin Worth had to settle for third with the same score, the Whittlebury Park partnership had already been successful in the County Girl Introductory Pairs Comp.

Kettering duo Gracie Murray and Chelsey Sharp collected the runners-up prize at Wellingborough GC, while the most committed mentor awards went to Charlotte Gilkes and Baylie Pyke (Overstone).

The Autumn Cup was claimed by Katie Amos (Northants County), while the nine-hole competition, for players with a handicap above 36, went to Emily Horsted (Peterborough Milton).

Ladies European Tour Access Series

Wellingborough amateur Meghan MacLaren wasted little time in recording her first victory on the professional circuit as she clinched top spot in the Santander Golf Tour LETAS La Penaza in Zaragoza, Spain.

In just her second pro appearance on the Ladies European Tour Access Series, the 22-year-old moved into contention with scores of 69 and 68.

MacLaren, who finished 10th in her previous event a weeks earlier at Stoke by Nayland, took the plaudits after shooting a six-under-par final round of 66 to finish two ahead of Sarah Schober from Austria.

She said: “I’m a little bit in shock. I felt comfortable out there, I knew that I just had to keep playing my own game because it was so tight between all of us.

“I knew we were all close but I wasn’t a 100% sure on the scores. But I said to myself anyway after the first round that I just wanted to keep improving each day and I knew if I did that I would have a chance.”

“It took me a little while to make any birdies this morning but I knew if I could just keep my rhythm and not make any mistakes and I putted really, really well.

“I felt like I had really good rhythm on the greens. I missed one short one on 12, the 
par three, but I made birdie on the hole after that so that settled me down again. I just kept in control as much as I could but it was pretty tense out there.”

Despite not picking up any prize for her two excellent performances on the LETAS, the Curtis Cup winner has relished the opportunity to compete against a professional field.

MacLaren, who equalled her own course at Wellingborough earlier this month, explained: “It’s great experience whether I had done well or not.

“No matter how good amateur events are, there’s nothing like playing professional events, which is what I realised last week as well, at Stoke by Nayland.

“I played well there with a few mistakes and came 10th so I knew if I could just cut out the mistakes this week that I might have a chance and I knew the course suited me as soon as I played it.

“I don’t know it was just my week I guess, 66 is the best round of my life, I still can’t believe it.”

Shires Junior Golf Tour

Ashleigh Critchley, Ethan La Porta (Brampton Heath), Amelia Humphries (Northampton), James Attwood (both Kettering) and Jack Meakin (Priors Hall) were rewarded for their consistency in 2016.

Critchley was the leading player in the Silver Division Order of Merit, La Porta and Humphries carded the joint-best total in the Bronze category, while Attwood and Meakin led the Diamond standings.

Natasha Ainsley-Thomas (Whittlebury) and Liam McNeela (Collingtree) collected the second and third prizes in the Gold Division.

Jadon Pham (Overstone) was the highest placed Northants golfer in the Copper section as he finished in fourth position.

Evans and Boyd will have to go back to school after bids fail

Ryan Evans will have to be content with a place in the final stage of European Tour Qualifying School next month after finishing 136th in the 2016 Order of Merit.

The Tour rookie’s hopes of securing his card for another year depended on him recording a top five spot in the Portugal Masters - the last qualifying event.

Wellingborough’s Evans opened with a magnificent bogey-free score of 66 before adding a 71 on day two to make the cut, but he was unable to move up the standings over the weekend as he carded 70 and 73.

Gary Boyd will also have to go through Q School to regain his card for another season after missing the cut in Portugal. Although the 30-year-old failed to make the weekend for the seventh successive event, he will take comfort from a battling performance after a poor start to the first round.

Boyd was five over par after 13 holes but responded with three birdies and an eagle on day one, before shooting another level par round on Friday.