THEY’RE calling Stuart Nixon “the crab” at South Moor, but he doesn’t mind because his new putting style has brought him the club championship.
Nixon now steps up for his third Journal Champion of Champions at De Vere Slaley Hall on Sunday and says: “I saw the US pro, Billy Mayfair, putting on TV with the shaft of his putter between his right forefinger and middle finger with and his thumb over the top.
“I tried his right-hand grip right away on the carpet at home and I liked it, the only difference is I use a conventional putter and he uses a belly putter.
“When it came to the club championship, it was our captain, Malcolm Kay, who said I looked like a crab, but I don’t care. I sunk a lot more 10-12 footers than I have ever done before and that’s what won me the title. “
A prolific gatherer of league points in the North Durham Union, Nixon scored 71 74 in difficult conditions to beat Paul Davison and Jon Paul Gilbert to the South Moor title.
A former county schools badminton semi-finalist, he has taken up the sport again “to keep fit” and has joined the St Aidan’s Badminton Club in Sunderland.
The 42-year-old from Silksworth, in Sunderland, works as a joiner with the Home Housing trust, based in Gosforth Business Park,
He won the championship at his previous club, Wearside, where he was also invited to play in the Champions as a top teenager.
Nixon will be joined at Slaley on Sunday by this season’s Wearside champion, David Vest, who won the 2001 Durham County matchplay title at Hartlepool.
A 35-year-old heavy goods driver with Aspray Transport, based in Birtley, Vest, who lives in Penshaw, captured his club’s title for the seventh time.
He shot 72 70, covering the last 10 of the 36 holes in five under, and birdies at 17 and 18 gave him a one-shot win over Howie Walton.
Vest’s purple patch got its kick-start start at nine, where he holed a 10-footer, and he clicked into overdrive at the 10th, where he chipped in from 20 yards.