GOLF: Collingtree teenager McNeela makes his mark again
Liam McNeela added another prize to his collection this year as the Collingtree Park teenager won the gross prize in the NGL Junior Grand Final at Northants County GC.
The four-handicapper, who won the Men’s and Junior Club title at his home club this season as well as topping the NGL Junior Order of Merit, carded 74 to finish clear of home club member Corey Neville.
Fellow County member Jack Peters went one better in the boys net category as a score of net 69 clinched first prize ahead of Owen Watts (Kingsthorpe) and Ben Lavender (Northampton).
With the competition also doubling up as the Moulton Junior Open, Peters triumphed by a single shot from Brampton Heath’s Ethan La Porta, who was runner-up on countback from James Bennett (Bawburgh) and one other junior.
In the girls competitions, Overstone Park enjoyed a double success as Baylie Pyke won the gross competition ahead of Rayner Edwards (Whittlebury), while Elise Warden grabbed the net plaudits from Katie Amos (Northampton) and Leah Ribano (Kingsthorpe).
European Tour qualifying school
Simon Lilly and Kyson Lloyd are flying the flag for Northamptonshire this week as they compete in the first stage of qualifying for the European Tour at Collingtree Park.
In a field of 100 professional and amateurs, the two Wellingborough golfers will be hoping to book a place in the second round at the start of November in Spain.
Fellow County pros Ryan Evans and Gary Boyd may also need to go through qualifying later in the year to regain their places on the European Tour for a second successive year after both missed the cut in the Italian Open.
With the leading 110 players on this year’s Order of Merit guaranteed a full playing card for 2017, Evans and Boyd currently sit 130th and 132nd with just half a dozen events remaining.
Both players are competing in Germany this week, with Boyd likely to join
Evans in the field for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland early next month.
Handicap League Final
Hellidon Lakes secured their third Handicap League crown in the last five years with a convincing 18-3 victory against Brampton Heath in the final at Wellingborough GC on Sunday.
The 2012 and 2013 champions made a solid start as Ben French and Clive Jennings grabbed the opening match by four holes.
Brampton, who lost the Hollingsworth Trophy final to Wellingborough the previous weekend, halved the deficit thanks to a win from Simon Clarke and Steve Holt.
It proved to be just a false dawn however as Hellidon seized control with a six hole success from Richard Barnes and Richard French.
The next two games resulted in narrow wins for either side before Hellidon wrapped up their eighth victory in 10 outings this season as Len Edwards and Jon Barrett finished seven holes up on their opponents.
Ladies Cecil Leitch Final
Overstone Park ended Whittlebury Park’s reign as Cecil Leitch champions as they recorded a gripping 4-3 victory in the final at Kettering GC last week.
Whittlebury, who have won the title for the last three years, made a positive start as Christine Pearce took the opening tie 3&2, before Sylvia Smith strolled in with a 7&6 win under her belt.
Twelve-year-old Baylie Pyke started the Overstone fightback as she beat Bev Price down the 18th, before Margo Lerin levelled the scores with a 3&2 success.
Although Whittlebury’s Jill Aldous took the next point, the momentum remained with the underdogs as Marlene Roy (2&1) and Jo Craddock (3&2) secured the title for Overstone.
Shires Junior Golf Tour
The regular season on Shires Junior Golf Tour comes to a conclusion on Sunday as another large field of players assemble for the 12th round at Market Harborough GC in Leicestershire.
Several Northants golfers are in the race for prizes.
Natasha Ainsley-Thomas (Whittlebury) and Liam McNeela lie second and third respectively in the Gold Division. JR Ellis (Aspley Guise & Woburn Sands) has a healthy 10 point advantage at the top.
A dozen points separate the top six players in the Silver Division as Ashleigh Critchley (Kettering) leads the way, with club-mate Joseph Hyde and Ben Lavender (Northampton) in the running.
It’s a similar scenario in the Bronze Division as Amelia Humphries (Brampton Heath) heads the charts by four from Cameron Reeves (Overstone). But, with Ethan La Porta (Brampton) and James Sales (Wellingborough) both within striking distance, the final positions could have a different look on Sunday evening.
Podium places are also up for grabs in the Copper Division behind The Leicestershire’s Finn Dobson, who has an unassailable lead. Jadon Pham (Overstone) currently sits in third spot.
In the Diamond Division, James Attwood (Kettering) leads by three and five points respectively from Lewis Critchley (Kettering) and Jack Meakin (Priors Hall), who
can both still claim the top prize.