SOME of the region’s young golf talent took to the fairways in Northumberland to compete in The Rock – Northern Rock’s Junior Golf Festival.
Matfen Hall provided the perfect backdrop as 60 golf-savvy youngsters teed off in the Pro Am element of one of the largest Junior Golf Tournaments in the country, with the team from Westerhope Juniors coming out victorious.
Playing with well-known golf professional Michael Nesbit, the first prize and much-coveted Rock trophy went to the team made up of Robby Bolton, 16, William Wilkinson, 10, and Jamie McFarlane, 16.
The proud junior champions walked away with individual prize trophies, as well as PGA vouchers to stock up on kit needed for practising their game.
Westerhope Juniors were once again successful, with golf professional George Cowan’s team coming in a close second. The team consisted of Brad Robinson, 13, William Elsender, 12, and Conor Brown, 16.
Newcastle Juniors clinched third place, with golf professional Gay Key’s team which was made up of Andrew Tinker, 16, Jake Collinson, 16, and Chris Cairns, 16.
Both second and third junior teams also received PGA vouchers.
Individual awards went to Robby Bolton and JJ Key for the Nearest the Pin on the 5th and 10th hole respectively, and Longest Drive went to Alan Nicholson from Tynemouth Golf Club.
Michael Nesbit, who led the winning team, said: “There was tough competition on the course today and with 20 teams of some of the region’s finest young golfers competing, it’s been action-packed all the way. My team worked hard to reach first place and should be really proud of themselves.”
Alongside the Pro Am tournament, approximately 480 youngsters, aged between five and 15, received free golf coaching from Instinctive Golf, while Rookie Sports provided Tri Golf sessions for under-fives throughout the day.
Event co-ordinator Ted Nicholls said: “The Rock is an event which the professionals look forward to just as much as the youngsters, because they are helping to encourage the players of the future.
“And with golf a probable inclusion in the 2016 Olympics, we could have seen a few future competitors here today.”
Paul Cairney of Northern Rock, said: “Today has seen another fantastic Junior Golf Festival take place, giving some of the region’s youngsters a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in a tournament alongside the North East’s most admired professionals.
“However, the main purpose of today was to give those who hadn’t tried golf before the chance to do so and to encourage others to move on to another level. Above all, the emphasis is on having fun and enjoying a family day out.”