GOLF: Intermediate League agony for Northampton

STAR STRUCK - Brampton Heath youngster Joe Quinn with Ian Poulter
STAR STRUCK - Brampton Heath youngster Joe Quinn with Ian Poulter

Northampton came up just short in their bid to win the Intermediate League title for the first time as they lost 5½-2½ to Wellingborough in the final at Collingtree Park GC.

Despite beating their rivals in the group stages, Northampton made a slow start as Mark Coleman clinched the opening point 4&3, before Damian Magill (3&2) doubled the Wellingborough lead.

With Andy Limbert (Northampton) and Oliver Tilley (Wellingborough) winning the final two games with five holes to spare, the result came down to the other four ties - all of which went the distance.

Sam Gilkes was unable to reduce the deficit as he halved with Dean Smith, while Gary Grimmitt guaranteed at least another half point for Wellingborough by taking a one hole lead to the 18th tee.

This meant that Wellingborough team captain Mike Gilbrook had the honour of securing the victory as he holed a four footer for par on the last green to finish all square with James Aris.

European Tour

Youngsters from across the county relished the opportunity to watch and meet some of the best golfers in the world during the British Masters on the European Tour at Woburn last week.

With several Shires Junior Golf Tour players winning free tickets, Joe Quinn, Max Faulkner (both Brampton Heath), Callum Gant (Rushden) and Jake Sheridan (Priors Hall) had the pleasure of meeting Ryder Cup heroes Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowall.

Thomas Freeman (Kingsthorpe) and Ellis Whittles (Northampton), plus the Kettering trio of Ashleigh Critchley, Lewis Critchley and Ben Atherton, also appeared on Sky Sports television after being interviewed by presenter Richard Boxall.

European Challenge Tour

County professional Gary Boyd has almost certainly guaranteed himself a return to the main European Tour for next year after moving up to fourth on the 2015 Challenge Tour rankings.

After celebrating his 29th birthday with a runners-up spot in the EMC Open in Italy the previous weekend, Boyd maintained his excellent form with a third place finish in the Irish Challenge on Sunday.

Boyd, who last played full time on the main tour in 2012, carded scores of 71, 69, 66 and 68 to finish just two off the pace at Mount Wolseley.

Fellow Northants pro Ryan Evans was also in fine touch as the Wellingborough golfer compiled rounds of 68, 72, 68 and 68 to take sixth place.

With the leading 15 golfers on the 2015 Challenge Tour gaining full playing rights on the European Tour next season, Evans lies 26th in the standings going into the last two events in China and Oman.

Cold Ashby

Phillip Smith was unstoppable in the Golfer Of The Year Grand Final as the nine-handicapper compiled a magnificent winning round of net 65.

Jamie Kerr and David Tinston both finished four strokes off the lead, with 
club champion Graham Bott a further shot back in fourth.

Pamela Kerr also enjoyed a comfortable victory in the Ladies October Medal as she finished three ahead of Sue Dawkins after shooting a net 73.

Delapre

One stroke was the margin of success for Tony Vella in the October Friday Medal as the 16-handicapper’s net 71 kept him ahead of Tony Donnelly, Paul Whiting and Michael Gillett.

Mohammed Khan enjoyed an even more impressive victory a few days later in the October Saturday Medal as he carded a score of net 68 to finish three ahead of Gary Wray.

Hellidon Lakes

Michael Clea’s consistency over 36 holes proved decisive in the Roxburgh House Cup as he edged one ahead of Andrew Thornton with a score of net 139.

Clive Jennings (142) was third by one from Kevin Lovell and Paul Upfield, who maintained his form into the October Medal as he finished runner-up in the top division behind Gavin Aris. The standout round of net 66 came from mid-handicapper Ashley Starbuck.

Overstone Park

A good start and a strong finish made all the difference for Gordon French in the October Medal as he squeezed one ahead of Gerrard Westby with a round of net 68.

Billy Druce, Mark Wheeler, Peter Gasson and Tony O’Brien were a further shot off the pace. Kerry Hambleton won the ladies competition with a net 73.

Northampton

Olwen Hickman overcame a slow start in the Ladies October Medal as she went on to shoot the best round of net 71. The 13-handicapper finished two clear of Sophie O’Brien and Noelle Willers.

Brampton Heath

Duncan Fay led the way in the October Medal as a round of net 68 earned a one stroke victory from Ray Dodd.

Net 71 was enough to secure the first prize in the Midweek Medal a few days later as Kevin Bassom took the honours.

Farthingstone

Calculators were needed to decide the podium places in the October Medal after four players came in with the leading score of net 67.

Barry Jones secured the honours with the help of eight pars on the inward run, plus a birdie on the 18th hole. Anthony Marriott, Peter Turner and Andy Morgan were second, third and fourth respectively.

Staverton

Samantha Harding was the outstanding performer in the latest Ladies Winter Series comp with 21 points over nine holes. She finished four ahead of Margaret Thiel.

Cherwell Edge

Forty one points was the best total in the October Stableford as Ty King took the plaudits in the top division by two from Robbie Turvey.

Whittlebury

Places are filling up to compete in the pairs events over the winter months as the men and ladies prepare to battle it out for the Bruton Plate and George Blues Trophy respectively. The opening rounds are scheduled for Sunday, October 25.

Collingtree

Stuart Jones continued his remarkable run of success in the Seniors Stableford Series as he topped the standings in the 17th round.

After already winning the 11th, 13th and 15th rounds this summer, the 15-handicapper beat Ken Souster by two with a tally of 36 points.

Kingsthorpe

Home club member Thomas Freeman picked up the top prize in the Junior Open after beating Max Faulkner and Corey Neville (both Brampton Heath) on countback with a net 67.