Craig Smith finds gadget not always needed

CRAIG Smith got his distances right – despite a flat start with his range finder battery – to help Close House land a double in the Northumberland age group championships, writes TIM TAYLOR.

CRAIG Smith got his distances right – despite a flat start with his range finder battery – to help Close House land a double in the Northumberland age group championships.

Smith signed for 65 69 at Seahouses to become the county Under-21 strokeplay champion, finishing on level par, and James Wilson signed for 70 75 to capture the Under-14 title.

In Smith’s case it was also a personal double as he had earlier this year acquired the matchplay title, the main Northumberland Under-21crown, at Tynemouth.

The 17-year-old’s latest victory left him nine shots clear of the field and improved his handicap to four. This makes him eligible for a place in the county junior team, his immediate ambition.

When Smith arrived at Seahouses, he discovered the battery on his range finder was dead.

His father Trevor, the Close House Junior Liasion Officer, who had planned to follow his son round the course, instead left the golf club and made a 90-mile round trip to Gosforth to buy a new battery from American Golf.

“The range finder Craig uses cost £220”, said Trevor, a civil servant. So it is a little ironic he was four shots worse in the afternoon after he got the new battery and was able to use his range finder.

“There are times when a range finder is useful but this proves it is how you execute your golf shots that matters most of all.”

Craig is a pupil at St Cuthbert’s High School, also attended by Jack Hermeston, the former McGregor Trophy winner from the City of Newcastle club.

At Dinsdale Spa, Ravensworth’s Don Candlish was runner-up in Durham County’s Under-14 championship, four shots behind Seaton Carew’s Cameron Wallace who returned a four-over 76.

Arcot Hall’s Rachel Gourley just missed out on a trip to the America Foundation Kids Tournament, finishing second in the girls under-eight qualifier at Gullane, also the event’s European Championship, taking three to get out of a pot bunker on the last hole.

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