Danny can hold his head high

Former European Tour caddie Jimmy Latta has been a factor in the success story of Danny Shevill, the new Northumberland Under-18s champion.

Former European Tour caddie Jimmy Latta has been a factor in the success story of Danny Shevill, the new Northumberland Under-18s champion.

The 18-year-old Shevill, who crossed the border to capture the Scottish Under-14s strokeplay championship in his days as a Prudhoe High School pupil, took his latest title with a level-par total of 142 at Whitley Bay.

That puts him through to the Little Big Six contest at Hesketh, Southport, on July 18.

It was part of a hectic 10-day spell in which he finished runner-up to Morpeth's Craig Penny in the Northumberland Under-21s Matchplay Championship at City of Newcastle and led the county senior strokeplay tournament at Alnwick in the first and third rounds, before fading to ninth behind winner Sandy Twynholm.

Latta runs the £350,000 Peter Mitchell Golf Academy in Carlisle and Shevill said: "Jimmy specialises in custom fitting for your clubs and it has made a huge difference to my game.

"I'm 6ft 2in and getting the right length of irons has improved my posture over the ball.

"I'm hitting every iron in the bag much better, from my wedge all the way through to my two iron. Jimmy has done a lot for my course management as well.

"My ambition is to become Tour pro and although it's a long haul from where I am now, I'm feeling more confident about my chances now."

Shevill, who started at the Stocksfield club and is now at Prudhoe, works at the Matfen Hall Academy.

He was less enamoured with playing those three county events in 10 days.

He said "It was 15 rounds of golf, which seems a lot to cram in to that space of time." Penny's victory over Shevill in the Under-21s contest was an epic encounter.

Three down after four holes, Penny was all square at the turn. One down after the 10th, he levelled at 11.

One up for the first time after 13, he lost the 14th. At 15 and 16, Penny again took the lead and lost it.

Shevill eagled the 17th to lie dormie one but Penny bounced back with a birdie at the last to go to sudden death.

Following all that, after they had both parred the first extra hole, Shevill drove out of bounds to lose the final.

"That was one of the best contests I have ever been involved in," said Penny.

* DARREN Crowle, a 32-year-old assistant at Billingham, booked himself a spot in The Rock, the biggest PGA regional event in England, when he led the east qualifying round at Matfen Hall yesterday.

Crowle racked up six birdies, rolling in four of them on the first seven holes, as he posted a four-under-par 68 and erred only twice with bogeys at the short fifth and 17th holes.

He was a shot ahead of long-serving Ganton professional Gary Brown and Nigel Parkinson, from Renishaw Park.

The Rock, a 54-hole tournament, is at Matfen Hall on August 6-8 and Wakefield's Aran Wainwright is expected to defend his title. Northern Rock sponsor the tournament to the tune of £30,000.

For the sixth time, the curtain raiser on Sunday August 5 will be the hugely popular Rock Junior Festival.

For details of the free coaching for boys and girls aged five to 15, parents should ring the PGA North Region on (01204) 496137.

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