Joe's triple whammy

DEDICATION, commitment and temperament have all combined to give teenager Joe Fraser the perfect send-off to the United States.

DEDICATION, commitment and temperament have all combined to give teenager Joe Fraser the perfect send-off to the United States.

In the space of three weeks he has won the Durham County Junior Match Play Championships and his own club's Junior Stroke Play Championship and senior Club Championship.

Since leaving St Cuthbert's High School in Benwell, 18-year-old, Joe, a member at Ravensworth Golf Club, has literally been living the life of a golf pro, supported by his dad Darren who owns his own business in Chester-le-Street.

For the past two years, this young man has committed himself to a daily routine of 90-minute work-outs in a gym, followed by six to seven hours practice at Ramside Hall and then nine holes of golf in the evening at Ravensworth.

He has received tuition from John Harrison at Matfen Hall and more recently from Andrew Nicholson at the David Leadbetter Academy at Wynyard, both through Durham County and privately.

Having qualified for the last 16 of the County Match Play Championship at Wynyard, shooting one over par and leading a field of 80 entrants, he moved on to Crook Golf Club to win his morning match 5&3. He then went on to win his quarter-final match 4&3 in the afternoon.

Joe said: "That took me into the semi-finals which were played at Knotty Hill where I played Charlie Tetlow from Hartlepool. I won that game 3&2 getting through to the final against Michael Coupland from Darlington."

In the final, he won at the 19th after he took on a dog-leg from the tee and just made it over trees. He then sand wedged a 60-yard approach to four feet and with both finalists left with birdie putts, Michael missed from eight feet but Joe didn't to land his biggest win to date.

Joe is the first to admit how much Wynyard's Andrew Nicholson has brought to his game in terms of smoothing out his swing, adding power and working out his practice and flexibility programmes.

Nicholson said: "Joe works very hard indeed on what he needs to do. He is a good listener and he is highly motivated, which are the key factors. Winning a County Title will mean a lot to Joe and I am delighted for him."

The following week and played under threatening skies, lightening was about to strike twice. In his own club's Junior Championship, Joe played solid golf, scoring rounds of 72 and 69 for a winning total of 141 - just one over par.

And one week later could lightening strike for a third time and would Joe become a double club champion? It certainly could and with rounds of 68 and 71 for a total of 139, he is the first Ravensworth member to achieve the honour of winning both titles.

He clearly has learnt to control his emotions under pressure.

Joe said: "Padraig Harrington is my hero, he is my role model. I like the way he keeps calm and stays in control whatever is happening on the course. I started playing golf when I was 11 and I loved it so much, I started getting a bit carried away. One day my dad caught me throwing a golf club and he told me if I ever did it again, he would not take me down the golf club again."

He got the message and matured so effectively that, when he was 16, he was chosen to captain the North of England Juniors in matches against Scotland and Yorkshire.

He is a third generation member of the Ravensworth club, following dad Darren and grandfather Joe.

Young Joe shortly flies out to the States to take up a place at Paris College, near Dallas.

Who knows what the future holds but Golf North East wishes him the best of luck.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer