Dan Wood (Brampton Heath) and Ryan Evans (Wellingborough) have earned full playing rights on the EuroPro Tour for the 2015 season after coming through final qualifying at Frilford Heath GC.
Wood was particularly impressive as he compiled rounds of 69 and 70 to make the cut, before shooting another 69 on the last day to finish in eighth position.
Evans opened with a 73 and finished with a 72, but will remember the second round with fondness after shooting a six-under-par 66 which included an eagle on the sixth, a birdie on the next hole and a hole-in-one on the ninth.
Fellow county pros Kyson Lloyd (Wellingborough) and Matt Hodgkiss (Brampton Heath) both missed the cut, as did Northampton greenkeeper Simon Williams.
The first of 15 events on the 2015 EuroPro schedule takes place at former Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor on May 13-15.
Four professionals tied for the lead in the latest NPGA Pro-Am as Jon Handyside, Neil Evans, Fred Jewsbury and Paul Broadhurst all carded a round of 69 at Northants County.
On a beautiful warm spring day, the team prize went to Broadhurst as he combined with amateurs Dave Mitchell, Craig Blackford and Mark Quinn-Jarvis to shoot a winning total of net 129.
Northampton’s Sophie Copson produced a stunning finish in the Junior Spring Cup as a brilliant tally of 41 points secured the top prize at Northants County.
The 29-handicapper bagged three successive net birdies from the 12th and then carded three consecutive net eagles on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes to finish six ahead of Ashleigh Critchley (Kettering).
A young county men’s side displayed their qualities in difficult windy conditions at Cold Ashby as they defeated Bedfordshire 8½-3½ in a pre-season friendly.
With team places up for grabs in the Anglian League and Eastern Counties this season, an experimental Northants outfit made a decent start as they led 2½-1½ after the morning foursomes.
The home side came into their own in the afternoon singles as Miles Mudge (3&2), Tom Forster (one hole) and the impressive Ben Jones (7&6) all collected their second wins on the day.
Sam Henfrey, Taylor Sargeant and Tom Burgh completed the scoring by clinching the final three points with three holes to spare.
The opening Anglian League fixture is against Suffolk on Sunday, May 10.
Stoke Albany secured a couple of narrow wins in games one and three as they ended their six-match Hollingsworth Trophy losing streak with a 4-1 home success against Whittlebury Park.
Anthony Broadbelt and Steve Lang bagged a consolation point for Whittlebury with a comfortable win in the final tie.
Reigning champions Brampton Heath bounced back from their 4-1 home defeat to Northampton the previous weekend with a victory by the same scoreline at Oundle on Saturday.
The match was evenly poised after the opening couple of games as Brampton’s Ben Jones and Mark Halliday (4&3) and Oundle’s Norman Emery and Christopher Hankins (3&2) grabbed wins.
Alec Francis and Dean Montgomery gave Brampton the lead, before the visitors clinched the next two points on the 18th hole.
Kingsthorpe needed a play-off to seal a 3-2 away win at Cherwell Edge as Kris Spence and Gavin Hitchcock beat Sean Lapper and Luis Witherall on the third extra hole.
Although the hosts took the first and last ties, points for Jake Croxford and Jason Spence (4&3) and Louis Wixon and Jack Walding, who won the closing two holes, helped clinch the Kingsthorpe victory.
Cold Ashby proved too strong for Rushden in their opening home match as they secured a 4-1 victory.
Team captain Stuart Nicholas and Paul Askew took the first tie 4&2, Jack Hall and Brad Green doubled the home advantage on the 17th hole, before Fraser Carnihan and Gareth Dolman confirmed the Ashby win.
Graham Bott and Jim Wallis enjoyed a convincing victory in the final tie, but the home side couldn’t complete a whitewash as Steve Alexander and Stuart Carvell beat Jim Burberry and Stuart Thomas in extra holes.
Priors Hall made a stunning start to the season as they secured five narrow wins to complete a whitewash victory at Collingtree Park.
Callum Farr and Anthony Lamond defeated Conor Rosling and Andrew Denis on the 18th in the opening tie, Tommy Hamilton and Cullen MacCallum doubled the lead, before Marc Asher and Ryan Genner confirmed the away victory.
With points difference possibly being crucial in qualification for the semi-finals, Priors completed the perfect day as Darren Buchan and Pete Dee won the 18th while Ryan Jaffray and Trevor Shiells took the last game on the same hole.
Wellingborough were also successful on their travels as they came out on top by the scoreline 4-1 at Staverton Park.
Although home duo Michael Franklin and Russell Brown took game one on the closing hole, it was only after Wellingborough’s Duncan Cornish and Duncan Felce had walked in with a 5&4 victory under their belts.
Tom Cheevers and Michael Garside (3&2) added another away point, Paul Saunders and Adam Sherlock (2&1) made it 3-1, before Jon Harris and Chris Howes completed the scoring with a 5&4 success.
Ladies Scratch League
Wellingborough needed to show all their fighting spirit in the opening match of the season as they recorded a 2-1 victory against Whittlebury Park at Kingsthorpe GC.
Whittlebury’s Christina Hancock beat Mary MacLaren on the second extra hole in the opening tie, but the reigning champions secured the other two points on the 17th as Ellie Darnell beat Kerry Sumner and Gill Snelson overcame Gill Long.
Playing competitive golf alongside family members was popular at Northants County over the Bank Holiday as the men’s and mixed prizes in the Texas Scramble went to various sets of siblings.
Two father and son combinations took the main honours as Adam Naylor and Edward Naylor joined forces with Neil Goodman and Tom Goodman to shoot a brilliant winning mark of net 54.375.
The mixed prize went to husband and wife Michael Curley and Gillian Curley as they combined with the mother and son partnership of Angela Duck and Tom Duck to shoot the leading score of net 58.
Chris Caswell’s marginally better back nine secured a countback victory from Gavin Hitchcock in the Allin Salver Medal after both players posted a net 67.
Paul Walters (68) was made to pay for a triple bogey on the opening hole as he finished level with Adam Willix and Reg Cullen.
A gross one over par outward half helped Pete Softley win the Easter Egg Stableford by three points from Dave Bright and Peter Gasson (both 36). The ladies prize went to Gill Hodgson (37) by two from Bronwen Pamely
Daniel Smith found his consistent best in the Midweek White Tee April Stableford as he bagged a total of 41 points to finish three clear of Craig Finnis.
Paul Curtis, Dale Johnson, Clint Cook and Keith Threlfall found their best form off the back tees in the wind during the Shotton Trophy as they carded a magnificent 18-under-par winning score of 126.
Seven strokes adrift in second spot were the quartet of Percy Williams, Wayne Harmer, Andrew Gardner and Stuart Robinson.
A couple of birdie twos on the front nine helped David Wiggins clinch the Seniors April Stableford as his tally of 38 points lifted him two ahead of Allen Johnson.
One point was the margin of success for Pam Kerr in the Bank Holiday Competition as a tally of 37 nudged her ahead of Sally Lawrenson and Derek Bott.
Both Kerr and Lawrenson were in good form a few days later in the Ladies April Medal as they both compiled a round of net 75 to finish second and third respectively behind winner Isobel Robertson (72).
Countback was needed in the April Midweek Medal as Paul Askew edged out Don Smith after both men posted a score of net 70.
Charlie Crowe’s one-off ‘partnership’ with top European golfer Paul Casey proved successful as he won the club’s US Masters Competition with a tally of 42 points.
In a fun event when a member’s weekend score is added to the round from one player in the final round of the Masters, Crowe’s tally of 38 points and Casey closing 68 at Augusta meant he secured top spot by four.
John Bridgwood was the most impressive winner in the four events over the festive period as he finished eight clear of the pack in the Easter Saturday Competition with 43 points.
Adam Smith (40) beat Anthony McCormack on countback on Good Friday, while Alan Bosher (40) and Richard Marsh (41) both enjoyed single point wins on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday respectively.
Ashley Hawes saw three strokes come off his 23 handicap after shooting a magnificent net 65 in the April Medal. Terry Haley (68) finished runner-up by a single shot from Andy White and David Patrick.
The Ladies Medal went to Wendy McKie (74) by one from Jean Brentnall and Fiona Crook.
Strong winds made scoring conditions tough in the April Medal as four players tied for the lead with a net 74. James Coveney secured the countback verdict ahead of Ben Baxter, Steve Wright and Christian Williams. The ladies competition went to Christine Pearce with a net 78.
Countback was a necessity in the second round of the Tigers Summer competition as three players came in with the leading tally of 38 points. Andy McKeown better finish sealed top spot on countback from Philip Gibson and Thomas Haydon.
David Williams gained a countback victory from Roger Holland in the Vets April Medal after both men shot the best round of net 70. Tom Conway and Brian Coleman were next on 71.
Jean Bulteel edged out Olwen Hickman in the Ladies April Medal after both shot the leading round of net 77.
Peter Phillips got the better of Jim Berry on countback in the Wednesday Thrash Competition after both carded 18 points over nine holes.