Golfers and golfing fans of all ages from Northants enjoyed the opportunity to watch the best players in the world compete in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Lancashire.
Many eyes were focused on Northants County’s Paul Broadhurst, who was taking part in the event after his victory in the Seniors Open at Carnoustie GC last year.
With coach Tim Rouse (County) making the journey up to the north west to offer help and advice, Broadhurst eagled the 17th in an opening 75, before a second round 72 meant he missed the cut by just two shots.
Broadhurst, who starts the defence of his Seniors crown at Royal Porthcawl GC in Wales this week, and Rouse weren’t the only Northants professionals working at Birkdale.
Brampton Heath pro Kieran Thomas provided coaching sessions for fans of all ages throughout the week outside the Open tent on behalf of the PGA.
Overstone Park’s Brian Mudge meanwhile joined forces with Lings School to organise a coach trip for more than 50 boys and girls to Royal Birkdale on a practice day.
As part of the Overstone Captain’s Scholarship Scheme, Mudge has combined with The Golf Foundation and two other local schools to offer coaching sessions for youngsters.
Mudge said: “The scheme has been very successful, with all of the boys and girls being offered membership at Overstone. We felt the opportunity to watch the best players in the world would be further inspiration for the juniors. And it worked because they were all buzzing when they got back home.”
English Boys Open
Robin Williams (Peterborough Milton) produced an excellent performance in the English Boys Under-16 Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship as he finished third.
Competing on the glorious links at Burnham and Berrow GC in Somerset, the 15-year-old made the cut with rounds of 68 and 75, before adding a round of 74 in more difficult windy conditions on day two.
Williams came into his own on the back nine in the final round as he carded three birdies and no bogeys in a score of 71 to finish just two shots adrift of McGregor Trophy winner Joonas Turba, from Estonia.
Luis Witherall (Northants County) missed the cut.
Ben Jones (Northants County) will join forces with Williams in the English Under-18 Championship this week as they look to help England defend the Nations Cup trophy at West Sussex GC.
With both players also going for the individual Carris Trophy, the event has attracted a strong international field, with players travelling from across Europe, the USA and South Africa. Jones, who is 18, goes into the tournament in great touch after winning the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters recently by 10 strokes with a score of 18-under-par.
Meghan MacLaren’s development as a professional continues to gather pace after she competed in her second tournament in as many weeks on the LPGA Tour.
The Wellingborough golfer, who took part in the US Women’s Open at the Trump National in New Jersey, overcame the disappointment of missing the cut at the major by qualifying for the Marathon Classic. Chasing one of two places in the Ohio field, the 2017 Ladies European Tour Access Series Order of Merit leader carded a five-under-par score to finish runner-up.
Although the 23-year-old couldn’t make the weekend in the main event, after shooting six birdies in an opening 71 on the way to a two-round total of 144, she will be pleased with her form going into the rest of the year.
Farthingstone will look to move another step closer to their first crown when they play six-time winners Peterborough Milton in the semi-finals at Northants County GC this weekend.
The other last four tie sees the 13-times champions Kingsthorpe meet Northampton, who have claimed the top prize on nine occasions.
The final will take place at Overstone Park GC on Sunday, August 27.
Wellingborough took a potentially significant step towards clinching the Division One title as they recorded their second away victory of the campaign as they defeated Peterborough Milton 5-3.
With an 8-0 win at Priors Hall already under their belts, Wellingborough eased to victory thanks to points from Tiger Adams, Dominic Holden, Roger Butler and Richard Brown, and halves from Jon Harris and Mark Davis.
Defending champions Northants County, who travel to Wellingborough this weekend, secured their third home victory of the year with a battling 5½-2½ win against Overstone Park.
Northampton remain top of the pile despite becoming the first team this season not to beat Priors Hall as their away match ended in a draw.
Rab Wilson enjoyed a big home win, while Brian Crawford, Darren Buchan and Daniel Portus were also successful for the Corby club, who had lost their previous three matches without collecting a point.
Kingsthorpe are within touching distance of promotion into the top flight after securing their third victory in three away outings this year with a 4½-3½ success at Staverton Park.
Most of the damage was done early on as the visitors won four of the opening five ties, before Mark Bazeley maintained the team’s perfect start to the campaign with a half. Rushden dented Brampton Heath’s hopes of catching the leaders as they edged a tight home contest by a single point. Chris Thacker, Ian Wills, James Lea and Lewis Miller won for the hosts, while Steve Alexander grabbed the all-important half point.
Northampton’s perfect record came to an end as Cold Ashby grabbed a 4-4 draw at Collingtree Park GC.
With both teams recording three wins, the result came down to games one and six as Ashby’s Les Watson and James Lovett both picked up halves to grab a share of the spoils.
Overstone Park are still chasing their first win of the year as they went down 5½-2½ against Wellingborough.