The future of golf in the North East is in safe hands - that's the over-riding impression following another hugely successful Golf North East Junior Champion of Champions tournament. If a 13-year-old can come 5th in a championship that features the best juniors in the region, on a course set up to test the best, then we have nothing to worry about.
The 2009 staging of the Junior Champion of Champions, sponsored by Srixon, was held at Tyneside Golf Club.
And with the likes of Mark Penny (+1) and scratch golfers Tom Rowland, Nicky Maddison , Elliot Wilson and Matthew Blackith in the field, it was always going to be a tough proposition for the rest of the competitors.
The first tee at Tyneside Golf Club had been set up similar to a European Tour event and with a PA System being used to introduce the players, the pressure was on from the start.
Many of the older members who watched from the safety of the clubhouse could not believe what they were witnessing as player after player launched drive after drive, miles up the fairway to leave short approach shots.
Maybe it's the modern day equipment, balls that fly a lot further and better drained courses, but the quality of young players these days seems to be more down to pro-active programmes and a new style training schedule introduced by the European PGA and EGU, which is beginning to reap the benefits.
Thirteen-year-old Jack Hermeston from Newcastle United Golf Club is a good example. Not much more than 5 feet in height and currently playing off a three handicap, his tee-shot at the first easily carried the fairway bunker 200 yards on the left, to leave an easy approach to the green.
Jack is a former HSBC Wee Wonders winner and has represented the UK at the HSBC Wee Wonders World Finals in the USA.
But the day belonged to Daniel Deakin, a four-handicapper from Parklands Golf Club at Gosforth Park, Newcastle. Against a par of 70, his gross 68 nett 64 was more than enough to take both our 2009 Junior Champion of Champions' title and the Nett Trophy along with all the Srixon prizes that went with them.
Although he played to his handicap, shooting a two-over 37 on the front nine, his round came alight on the inward half, carding a remarkable four-under 31 to secure his best win to date.
Mark Penny, the Newbiggin-by-the-Sea champion finished in second place with a 1 under 69 and Andrew Hastings from Consett took third on count back with a par round of 70.
Paul Bradshaw from Srixon Sports Europe Ltd. couldn't attend on the day but said: "Now in its third year, the 2009 Golf North East Junior Champion of Champions has established itself as an important event in the yearly golfing calendar and I am sure is eagerly awaited by all who can compete in it.
"Srixon are once again delighted and very proud to sponsor the prizes. I have no doubt that this year's tournament has been just as keenly contested and that the Tyneside Golf Club has proved to be an excellent test of golf and produced another worthy champion.
"I am sorry that I couldn't be there in person, but I send my congratulations to all the prize winners, commiserations to those who missed out and my thanks to all at Tyneside Golf Club for hosting this year's event.
"Finally, my special thanks also go to Paul and Gillian Corney from Golf North East, who have worked hard to turn their great idea into a great event and I hope we can continue to support it for many years to come."
Tyneside's captain Geoff White added: "It has been an honour and a pleasure for us to host this tournament and we have been rewarded by the superb comments from all the players on the quality of the golf course."
Golf North East's Gillian Corney summed up the day by saying: "Brilliant course, excellent hospitality, superb competitive golf and a wonderful day for everybody involved.
With this tournament, I think we have achieved our target of promoting junior golf in the region. We now have what I believe is the top North East junior golfing competition in which the best youngsters can compete against each other.
"What we have achieved in three years is brilliant. Yes the kids have their county events, but they do not have the opportunity to play in a regional event where the organisers pull out all the stops to give them the feeling of playing in a professionally organised tournament.
"The Tyneside course had been set up well and those with a good short game were rewarded, especially the good putters - Tyneside's defence is its greens!!"
The Golf North East Junior Champion of Champions Silver Salver now has pride of place for the next 12 months in the centre of the trophy cabinet at Parklands Golf Club.
Acknowledgements: - Srixon Sports Europe Ltd, Tyneside Golf Club, The Riverdale Hall Hotel and Canny Beds.com.