GOLF: Promotion for teenager Jones as he joins the England A squad
Northants County member Ben Jones has been promoted from the England Under-18's squad to the England A men's squad for the 2018 training programme.
The 18-year-old’s reward for a stellar year is to join George Bloor, Bailey Gill, Tom Sloman, Josh McMahon, Nick Poppleton for national coaching and support over the season.
Jones, who is two years younger than anyone else in the squad, topped the England Boys Order of Merit having won the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters and the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy.
Before then, the 2016 County Boys Champion plays in two big amateur events in the USA as he takes part in the South Beach Invitational this week, before competing in the Junior Orange Bowl after Christmas.
Peterborough Milton teenager Robin Williams, who played on the European Tour in South Africa last week, joins Jones in the South Beach Invitational, which is the world’s fifth ranked amateur golf tournament.
The Junior Orange Bowl also carries plenty of prestige as the competitors look to follow in the footsteps of previous winners Tiger Woods, Mark Calcavecchia, Kevin Na and Camilo Villegas.
NPGA Winter Series
Staverton Park pro Simon Lilly maintained his superb form in 2017 as he carded the leading score for the fifth time in seven NPGA Winter Series events.
Lilly was a model of consistency at Kingsthorpe as he grabbed two birdies in a one-under-par 68 to nudge one clear of Dan Wood. He also won the team prize on 87 points.
One day later, experienced professional Brian Mudge displayed his short game skills as he won the inaugural Par Three Christmas NPGA event on Brampton Heath’s short course.
The Overstone Park golfer bagged five birdies in a three-under-par 51 to finish a single stroke ahead of home club pro Kieran Thomas, with Joseph James (Delapre) a further shot back in third.
In the amateur competition, NPGA secretary Richard Lobb beat treasurer Malcolm Evans on countback with a net 52.
High-handicapper James Clarke kept the big numbers off his scorecard in the second round of the Winter Series as he posted the leading round of 42 points.
Jeffery Buck, who also plays off 22, bagged 39 points to take second spot by one from Junior Club champion Ben Lavender.
Jon Thorne won the Christmas Competition by a single point from Darren Seaton and Gavin Aris, who both came in with 37 points.
Forty one points was a brilliant winning score for Bob Thomson in the seventh round of the Tigers Merit League as he finished five clear of Alan Palmer.
Thomas Haydon won the previous Tigers competition on countback from Ted Craig.
High-handicapper Tony Bodsworth smashed the leading score of 41 points as he finished one clear of the chasing pack in the December Stableford.
Bertie Edwards (40) won the top division, Philip Bearman (40)beat Michael Urwin in the second section, while Carole Kane (32) secured the ladies prize.
Back-to-back gross birdies on the 12th and 13th holes helped Alistair Rowton win the Seniors Medal as the 19-handicapper’s net 63 lifted him three ahead of Richard Kearney. Ray Fairbairn completed a gross (76) and net (67) double in the December Mid-week Medal.
Forty one points was the fantastic winning total in the Christmas Stableford as Chris Poolton bagged the honours by five from Tom Orcherton and Paul Moriarty.