Northamptonshire’s Ryan Evans showed his game is in fine fettle at the start of the year as he produced a strong performance on his way to finishing 15th in the BMW Open in South Africa.
Evans, who qualified for the European Tour after grabbing eight spot on the 2017 Challenge Tour, struggled for consistency on day one as he bagged five birdies and seven bogeys in a 74.
The Wellingborough pro turned it around brilliantly to make the cut with a 67, before surging further up the leaderboard with a remarkable third round of 68, which included three eagles.
The 30-year-old, who got engaged over Christmas, remained in good mood throughout the final day as he grabbed six birdies in a 69.
Jim Wallis and Ruth Sleigh completed their respective terms as the men’s and ladies club captains at Cold Ashby as they handed over the reins to George Sharp and Anne Hopwell.
When ex-County Cricketer and Test Umpire Sharp was asked if he was nervous about teeing off in front of so many people he replied ‘when you have given Sachin Tendulkar out in front of 100,000 people in Calcutta this was nothing’.
The 10-hole Greensomes Stableford which followed the Captain’s Drive-In was won by Richard Martin and Tommy Dolman on countback from Vince Thomas and Lyn Thomas.
County Girls team member Ashleigh Critchley received a late Christmas present as she benefitted from some one-on-one coaching with Robert Rock before playing a few holes of golf with the European Tour pro.
With the Kettering golfer having won the prize with victory in the Robert Rock Junior Golf Tour last year, the day was originally postponed last month due to the snow.
The Robert Rock Junior Golf Tour, which attracted players from across the county for their three events last season, are holding six regional tournaments in 2018.
Young golfers of all abilities and ages interested in taking part are advised to contact Natalie Clark on email@example.com.
Ash Patel, Jason Spence, Gavin Hitchcock and Matt Landers were the quartet to beat in the Martin Letts Competition after shooting an excellent winning score of 100 points.
Hitchcock and Landers are also both in contention for the Winter Pairs League title with their respective team-mates, while Danny Cramphorn and his partner were successful in the Bob Adie Classic with 44 points.
New ladies captain Mary MacLaren wasted little time in getting her name on the winner’s rostrum for 2017 as she clinched the Three Clubs and a Putter competition on a cold and wet day.
Sue Sharp, who led the second division scoring, was also successful a few days later in the January Stableford as she won her category again with 39 points.
Scratch team players Gill Snelson and Ida Huggins grabbed first and second places respectively in the top division with 43 apiece. Liz Waine was third on the same mark.
Scoring once again proved tricky during the latest two rounds of the Tigers Winter League as no-one managed to beat their handicap in the cold and wet conditions.
Steve Trotman’s 35 points were enough to win the ninth round by one from Peter Sadler, while Bob Thomson (36) took the 10th round plaudits by two points from Peter Bosworth, Thomas Haydon and Stuart Metcalf.
Ten gross pars were on the winning scorecard of Mark Hemmings in the January Stableford as the 14-handicapper shot 39 points. Shaun Popple and Joe Mennell were second and third respectively on 35.
Len Newell completed a gross and net double in the fourth Winter Medal after the 12-handicapper came in with an excellent net 67.
Samuel Overton finished second on 68, while Ray Lewis showed he still has plenty to offer by taking third prize on 70.
Lawrie Worbey collected a very late Christmas present in the Seniors Turkey Trot at Staverton as he beat Paul Nightingale on countback in mid-January with 39 points.
Countback was needed in the third round of the Winter League at Rushden after Chris Randall, Darren Quincey and Nevil Freeman all came in with the leading 12-hole tally of 27 points.
Gross pars on five of the last six holes proved decisive for Randall as he edged out Quincey and Freeman, who bogeyed the losing two holes.
Seamus Hennessy held his nerve in difficult weather conditions to secure first spot in the Seniors January Winter Stableford with 22 points over 11 holes. Bernard Rallison had to be content with the runners-up position, with James Blues in third.
An excellent run of three birdies in four holes around the turn helped Michael Jursa win the opening round of the Winter League.
The eighth-handicapper’s total of 41 points lifted him three ahead of Anthony Mackin, with Jon Knibbs one further back in third spot.
Karen Johnson was successful in the first Ladies Winter Stableford of the year as the 19-handicapper’s score of 30 points over 14 holes pushed her two clear of Sheila Homer. Gerry Robson was third on 26.
Priors Hall Golf Club will play a key role in the success of the golf course over the next 12 months and beyond according to Corby Council, who have embarked on their first full year of running the facility for over two decades.
After taking over the management of the Corby golf course in September, the Council have impressed the Club with their plan to assess the project over a long period of time before making any decisions about its future.
Course Manager Adam Smith said: “We’ve been here just over four months and now have a better idea about how it operates and the challenges ahead, but it’s still a work in progress. It will take time to solve those challenges.
“The only way to do that is for Corby Council, Priors Hall Golf Club and the users of the golf course to work together.
“We want to improve the course and get more people playing golf here - the ultimate aim is for everyone to enjoy the facility and the course.
“However, we can’t just stand still and assess in the background because decisions and improvements will need to be made as we are going along.
“But any improvements we do make will have a positive impact, towards whatever happens to the golf course in the future, whether it stays in-house or goes out to tender again.
“The relationship between the Golf Club and the golf course has always been good, and that continues now. There are always challenges, like it would be for any amateur club who is based at a facility that is not their own.
“But the Club have a key role. They are committed to the golf course and work really hard as volunteers to improve their membership base, the competitions and the teams, and they are keen to get more juniors playing golf.
“Corby Council are the same - we both realise that if the golf course is doing well, then Priors Hall Golf Club will benefit.”
Northamptonshire boys squad had the opportunity to tap into the knowledge of England A international Ben Jones when the county held a training session at Peterborough Milton on Sunday.
As the team prepare for a busy year, the group heard about how the teenager became the highest ranked boy in England last year, and also received advice from the county coaches about how they will help all the players try to reach the top.
Jones, who has been promoted from the England Under-18’s squad to the England A set-up, has just returned from a trip to the USA when he enhanced his growing reputation by competing in two international boys events in Florida.
The Northants County member was particularly impressive in the South Beach Invitational, when he finished runner-up to American Jacob Bergeron in the world’s fifth ranked amateur golf tournament.
Jones carded two eagles in an opening 71 at Miami Beach, bagged eight birdies in a 65 on Normandy Shores, before shooting four consecutive birdies at the start of the back nine in a round of 66 back at Miami Beach on day three.
Although the plus-four handicapper carded back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes in a closing 69, it wasn’t quite enough to catch leader Bergeron, who won by four.
Jones maintained his consistency, without finding the birdie touch, a week later in the Junior Orange Bowl as he carded scores of 70, 73, 72 and 75 at Biltmore to finish 28th.
Mongomo Actuaries Open
Wellingborough’s Kyson Lloyd will be hoping to build on the experience of playing in a pro tournament in Africa for the first time after finishing eighth in the Actuaries Open in Mongomo.
With 100 golfers from six continents taking part in the event in Equatorial Guinea, Lloyd carded four birdies in an opening 71 before dropping just one shot in a round of 69 on day two to move into second place going in the last round.
Despite carding back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh holes and picking up another shot on the 18th hole, he couldn’t maintain his challenge as he finished with a score of 74.
After booking his spot in the tournament by winning a qualifying event in Dubai at the end of last season, Lloyd was full of praise for the event organisers.
He said: "Mongomo is such a great place, the hospitality we received was second to none. The course is one of the best I’ve ever played - the layout is so demanding and visually stunning.”
Steve Rebhan provided the ideal partner for Darrin Keech in the Christmas Rocket competition as they grabbed the honours in the festive event with 41 points.
With new Captain Baboo Patel presenting the prizes, the duo snatched first place from Rob Pizzimenti and Jordan Darnell on countback.
Jacob Williams ended his year on a high as the teenager won the Junior Christmas Stableford by four points from Kai Raimond, Michael Wood and Charlie Armitage after posting 36 points.
Fellow junior member Sam Ludlow carded the third best score of 37 points in the Men’s Christmas Stableford as Paul Showler took the honours by five from Neil Thompson with a magnificent tally of 43.
Two father-and-son combinations were successful in the main two competitions over the festive period as pairs competed in the Boxing Day Stableford and the Kelly Bowls.
Forty nine points was a magnificent winning tally for Neil Wilmore and his son Tom as they beat Jim Baylis and Lee Gardner by three on December 26th.
On New Year’s Day, it was Andy Redding and son Isaac’s turn to grab the plaudits as they clinched the Kelly Bowls by one from Martin Noons and Tim
Coleman with 40 points.
Calculators were needed to decide the winner of the seventh round of the Winter League after three players came in with the leading 11-hole score of 21 points.
Paul Breslin slightly better finish proved decisive as he grabbed the top spot ahead of Kevin Bullimore and Steve Shiells.
Forty one points was a magnificent winning score in round eight of the Winter League as Milan Crooks took the plaudits by three from Mark Walters. Jon Knibbs and Sandy MacNicol finished one point further off the lead.
Mark Maddox coped best in the difficult scoring conditions in the third round of the Winter League as he finished three points ahead of runner-up Alan Taylor.
Countback was needed to decide the winner of the fourth round of the Bruton Plate Men’s Winter League as Ken Butler and Michael Robertson (40 points) edged out David Castle and Jeff Parsons.
In the last Turkey Trot competition before Christmas, Adrian Waynforth and Simon Hirst (35) and Beverley Price and Chris Knight (33) carried away the main prizes.
Dennis Burton was the only player to match his handicap in the eighth round of the Tigers Winter League as his tally of 36 points pushed him three ahead of Steve Trotman.
Alf Chessum saw his handicap drop into single figures after winning the Third Winter Medal by three strokes.
A birdied on the closing hole in a round of net 67 lifted Chessum clear of high-handicapper Richard McCabe, with Terry Kempe a further shot back in third.
Tom Bodily secured the Boxing Day top prize on countback from Paul Cooper and Gez Strangwood after shooting 20 points in the nine-hole competition.
Brian Mudge displayed his short game skills as the experienced professional 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.
The previous day saw Staverton pro Simon Lilly maintain his superb form on full golf courses in 2017 as he carded the leading score for the fifth time in seven 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.
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.
John Cutliffe saw his handicap drop into single figures after winning the Seniors Turkey Trot with a magnificent total of 42 points. Andrew King (40) and Barry Stone (38) finished second and third respectively.
Scoring proved more difficult in the seventh round of the Winter League Series as Bill Rutter beat Jon Knibbs on countback with 35 points.
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.
Kevin Sheehan picked up the Christmas Cup after shooting the leading mark of 35 points in the Captain’s Drive-In competition. Joshua Smith and Trevor Chinery (34) came closest to snatching the top prize.
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.
Charley Hull recorded her highest finish of the season on the 2017 Ladies European Tour as she grabbed a share of fifth place in the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic.
The Kettering golfer, who plays mostly on the LPGA Tour and was competing in an LET event for just the fourth time this year, carded four birdies in both of her opening two rounds of 70.
Hull surged up the leaderboard as she bagged an eagle two and four birdies in a third round 67, before shooting five birdies in a final round 69 to finish just three shots behind the winner.
Fellow county pro Meghan MacLaren enjoyed mixed fortunes in her last event of her debut season as she made the cut with rounds of 71 and 69, before carding three birdies in her opening five holes on day three.
Needing a high finish to grab the 2017 LET Rookie of the Year crown, the Wellingborough golfer was unable to maintain her momentum as she dropped out of contention over the weekend.
Michael Campbell will be looking to build on his success in the NPGA Overseas Pro-Am after he took the plaudits by two points on Hilton Head in South Carolina.
The Kettering pro was involved in a thrilling battle with Dan Wood (Brampton Heath) over four days as he eventually came out on top with a total of 146 points. Adam Myers (Northants County) finished third on 127.
The 24-year-old also carried off the team prize as he combined successfully with amateurs Richard Shaw, Tony Parker and Richard Lobb.
Wood’s team finished seven points behind in the runners-up spot, with Blackthorn Wood professional Shane Rose’s side one point further back in third.
Aaron Tebbutt, Loz Weekes, Isaac Redding and Joe Giammalva were the team to beat in the Captains Drive-In competition after posting 87 points.
With Martin Wall, Mary MacLaren, Graham Bayes and Ellie Darnell hitting their first shots as the skippers in their respective sections at the club in the morning, John McGowan’s team grabbed second on 86.
Former club captains Iain Tait and Craig Robb had to settle for second and third places in the December Stableford as Alastair Robinson took the plaudits with 42 points respectively.
Hugh Davies (35 points) edged out Andrew Wilkinson on countback in the top division of the Christmas Saturday Stableford. Alex James carded the same score to beat Ryan Slater by two in the second section.
A run of 11 gross pars in 14 holes in the middle of the round from 17-handicapper Gary Leavey secured the December Medal with a net 65.
Danny Smith also carded net 65 to take second by two shots from Paul Gardner, while Kerry Hambleton claimed the ladies prize with a net 71.
Countback was required in the sixth week of the Winter League Series after two players posted the leading tally of 41 points.
John Macmillan grabbed the verdict from Jamie Haynes, with Mark Ashby a further point off the pace in third.
Northamptonshire have three young golfers competing in the 21st Faldo Series Grand Final this week as Callum Farr, Tiger Adams and Charlie Salter chase glory in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
With players from 19 countries across the world looking to follow in the footsteps of previous winner Rory McIlroy, Priors Hall’s Farr will contest the under-21 category after winning the English Midlands Championships in August.
Wellingborough’s Adams, who was also successful in the Midlands qualifier, and Salter (Northants County), who triumphed in the Wales Championships in April, are in the under-18 competition.
Kettering member Ashleigh Critchley’s reward for winning the 2017 Order of Merit on the Robert Rock Junior Golf Tour is a special coaching day with the European Tour professional next month.
Critchley, who finished 10 points clear of her closest rival, will join the other category winners for one-on-one tuition and golf with Rock on Sunday, December 10th.
The Robert Rock Junior Golf Tour, which attracted players from across the county for their three events last season, have announced an expanded programme of six regional tournaments for 2018.
Starting at Sutton Coldfield (April 2nd), boys and girls have the chance to compete at Ruddington Grange (May 28th), Beeston Fields (June 24th), Longcliffe (August 13th) and Ramsdale (September 16th).
With the last competition taking place at Coxmoor on October 29th, young golfers of all abilities and ages interested in taking part are advised to contact Natalie Clark on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ryan Evans will be hoping to build on a solid start to the season when he competes in the Australian PGA Championship this week at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Queensland.
The Wellingborough professional marked his return to European Tour action last week by adding three successive rounds of 69 to an opening 71 to finish 31st in the Hong Kong Open.
Evans, who is unlikely to compete again until the New Year, will go head-to-head with a field that includes Sergio Garcia and two other former US Masters champions, Adam Scott and Mike Weir.
Ladies European Tour professional Meghan MacLaren helped out with Northampton Golf Club’s 2017 junior presentation ceremony as the NGL Junior League champions celebrated a record breaking season.
With 96 juniors and their families attending the awards evening, Ben Lavender was named Golfer of the Year thanks to his success in the Boys Club Championships and Summer Series Trophy.
Other winners included Jacob Keates, Johnny McManus, Elliot Strickland, Harrison Taylor, Jordan Matthews, Leah Ribano, Lara Auld, Sophie Copson, Elise Warden, Mackenzie Warden, Katie Amos and Charlotte Gilkes.
James Needham and Pamela Kerr were crowned 2017 Golfers of the Year after both finished well clear at the top of their respective Order of Merits.
Needham won the Charity Shield, and also the Pairs Texas Scramble with Adam Kerr, towards the end of the season to claim top spot in the overall rankings by 62 points from Bradley Green.
Kerr received the ladies prize from Club Captain Jim Wallis after holding off the challenge of November Medal winner Lyn Thomas by 17 points.
Andrew Rose birdied the fifth, sixth and 10th holes in the fourth round of the Winter League as the five-handicapper shot the leading score of 39 points.
Runner-up Alec McCardie and third-placed Brian Curtis both carded 37, while Jon Knibbs, Mark Ashby and Bill Rutter all finished one point further off the pace.
Countback was needed in the second round of the Winter League as three high-handicappers came in with the leading mark of 40 points. Trevor Chinery’s better finished proved vital as he grabbed the verdict from Stephen McIlroy, with Martin Miles in third.
Forty points was an excellent winning score in the November Mid-week Stableford as Ted Dunn used all his experience to finish two ahead of Paul Pateman and Mark Arber.
Jack Cooper came close to bagging his second top prize in as many weekends as the November Medal carded the joint-best score in the second Winter Stableford.
The 12-handicapper had to settle for third on this occasion as Chris Eveleigh earned the plaudits on countback from runner-up Len Newell.
A score of net 60.7 helped Kevin Durkan’s team win the Seniors November Texas Plate by less than a shot from Cappa Rose’s quartet.
One point was the difference between first and second in the 20th round of the Seniors Stableford Series as Nigel Deering (36) edged out Kevin Darby.
Keith Faulkner was successful in the first round of the Seniors Winter Stableford Series as he beat David Wiggins and Don Parker on countback with 39 points.
Andy McKeown and Anthony Carey shot the joint-best round of net 74 in the November Medal as they won the second and third divisions respectively. Lloyd Rawlings (79) took the top section on countback.
John Boswell’s tally of 36 points was enough to bag the honours in the fifth round of the Tigers League as he nudged one ahead of David Stanford and Peter Sadler.