GOLF: McNeela and Darnell claim county titles

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Liam McNeela (Northants County) and Ellie Darnell (Wellingborough) were crowned 2017 Boys and Girls County Champions respectively at Kettering GC.

McNeela produced a dominant performance in the boys event as he smashed nine birdies in an opening score of 66 to sit three clear of the field at the halfway stage.

The 17-year-old, who made his County men’s first team debut earlier this year, stretched his advantage to 10 strokes with a composed round of 67 in the afternoon.

It was a slightly different story for Darnell as she overcame a six-shot deficit from club-mate Rebecca MacLaren in the morning to win by four.

Fresh from finishing runner-up in the Ladies County Championships the previous month, the 16-year-old birdied four of her last 11 holes in an impressive afternoon score of 72.

The Scottish Cup team prize went to the home club as James Attwood combined with brothers Luca and Theo Brown to shoot the leading points tally of 119.

Peterborough Milton’s second team lifted the Shoe & Leather Cup as the side of Sam Balaam, Adam O’Brien, Jade Roberts and Rylan Thomas posted 80 points.

NGL Junior Order of Merit

Ed Keech, Joseph Hyde (both Kettering) and Katie Amos (Northampton) can look forward to a special round of golf with European Tour pro 
Gary Boyd after their success in the Cherwell Edge Junior Open.

With the former county men’s champion offering three juniors a unique opportunity to join him for 18 holes at Woburn this summer, the trio rose to the challenge in the NGL/British Junior Golf Tour co-sanctioned event.

Keech, who saw his handicap drop into single figures for the first time, shot the best gross score of one-over-par 71 to win the boys competition, while Hyde took the net honours with a brilliant net 62.

Amos was also in great form, especially on the short holes where she carded three birdies, as she went on to shoot the leading girls gross mark of 77.

The opening 2017 NGL Junior Order of Merit saw defending champions Liam McNeela (Northants County) and Baylie Pyke, Lottie Heaver, Jadon Pham (all Overstone) and Henry Edwards (Northampton) do well.

The nine-hole competition, which was played off age-related tees, saw Lewis Critchley (Kettering) picked up two prizes as he finished third in the 7-8 Age Group as well as bagging a nearest-the-pin.

Golf Foundation

Northampton Golf Club Junior Organiser Steve Bowers received the Golf Foundation’s Gallagher ‘Volunteer’ Award at the Presidents Awards Ceremony at Wentworth GC.

This award is presented to a volunteer who, as a direct result of their efforts, has made a significant impact in the development of grass roots junior golf.

Northampton Director of Golf Barry Randall said: “We can only thank Steve for his continued hard work in achieving this success for both himself and the club giving us recognition on a national level.

“Steve received the award from Golf Foundation President, Sandy Jones, whilst being accompanied by Ladies Captain, Liz Mulliner, and Junior members Charlotte Bowers, Sophie Copson and Katie Amos.”

Intermediate League

Wellingborough displayed their ruthless streak in the opening match of the season.

Boro recorded a comprehensive 7½-½ victory against Kettering at Overstone Park GC.

Mark Coleman, Dean Smith and Paul Redding secured points with holes to spare.

But Wellingborough were made to battle in the other ties as all of them were to reach the 18th.

Paul Hughes and Mike Gilbrook confirmed the Wellingborough win.

Tim Veal and Damian Magill also got their noses in front.

But Harry Newman couldn’t complete the perfect day as he eventually halved the last game.

Handicap League

Group A

Sean Collins and Charlie Mains (seven holes) and Michael Burrows and Ben Morris (eight holes) were both in superb form for Brampton Heath at home to Rushden as they sent the team on their way to a 22-5 win in Group A of the

Group C

Peterborough Milton needed to graft to collect their first victory of the campaign as they edged a tight home contest with Overstone 4-1.

Luigi Manganiello and Ian Smith’s two hole success in the opening tie was the most comfortable win as two matches finished all square.

Kettering enjoyed a far more convincing win in their home clash with Oundle as they came out on top 21-3.

Group D

Wellingborough recorded the biggest victory in any Handicap League division this year as they thumped Silverstone 28-0 at home.

Steve Bailey and Paul Redding set the tone with a seven-hole success in game one, only for Giovanni Gioia and Joe Giammalva to go one better in the next tie.

Northampton were only marginally less impressive as they beat Cherwell Edge 23-2 at home.

Ladies Cecil Leitch

Whittlebury Park took a big stride towards qualifying for the semi-finals with a 4-3 away victory against fellow Group 2 high-fliers Staverton Park.

In an incredibly tight group, which has seen eight of the 11 matches decided by just a single point, the visitors triumphed thanks to points from Tracey Heavey, Denise Prescott, Tracey Mann and Tina Murdock.

Oundle became the first team in Group 3 to claim an away victory as they won 6-1 at Elton Furze.

Furze have now lost all three matches.

Pat Silburn, Pat Wilkinson, Karen Johnson, Ros Riley, Carla Fogarty and Ann Ireland collected the points for the away team.