Richard Is A Putting Genius

Richard Robson-Crosby has produced a putting display many a Tour professional would die for to win the Merchants' Cup and the title of 2009 St Andrew's Boys Open Champion.

Richard Robson-Crosby has produced a putting display many a Tour professional would die for to win the Merchants' Cup and the title of 2009 St Andrew's Boys Open Champion.

Following in the footsteps of City of Newcastle's Nicky Maddison, the 2008 champion, our Northumberland youngsters are showing the world that they are a force to be reckoned with - a tribute to the standard of the Northumberland Development Programme.

Richard's name will now be inscribed on the trophy alongside the likes of Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open Champion and the last Briton to lift the claret jug, the 2008 Silver Medal Winner at Royal Birkdale, Bristol's Chris Wood, and of course, Nicky after his outstanding performance last year.

Seventeen-year-old Richard, who became the youngest club champion last season in the history of Ponteland Golf Club, was one of three players from Northumberland who made it through to the last 32 and the match play stages of the tournament - Prudhoe's Andrew Scrimshaw and Tom Rowland being the other two.

On the qualifying day and played over the Eden course, most of the Northumberland lads had early starts and the best of the conditions.

Richard said: "I was off at 7.30am and there was very little wind. I had one birdie and five bogeys shooting a 74 and I was unsure if I was going to qualify. Last year when I played, I had a 72 and qualified in 29th place out of 32. Luckily this year, I made it in as the 15th qualifier with 76 being the cut.

"The first and second rounds were played on the Eden the next day, winning the first round 2up. I played all right in that match but nowhere near as well as I played throughout the rest of the week. The second round match was against Andrew Cunningham where I was 2 down after seven holes and ended up winning that match 5&3 - I really got the putter working in that game.

"The final three matches were played over the Old Course and in the quarter-final, I had seven birdies in 14 holes winning that match 6&4, which was the best golf I played all week. It seemed like I holed every single putt, I just couldn't miss.

"In the semi-final next morning, there was no wind and the conditions were probably the best they had been all week. My opponent was Anthony Bradley, who had knocked out Andrew Scrimshaw in the first of the knock-out stages and then Tom Rowland in the quarter-finals. I won that match 4&3 which was good revenge for county.

"In the afternoon, I played Matthew Fitzpatrick from Yorkshire and I beat him 3&1. After being 2 down after 11, I went on to birdie the next four holes to get back to 2 up and closed the match off at the 17th, which was a good hole to finish on."

Playing off the back tees, Richard was clearly delighted with his victory as was his mother Juliet and step-father Alan, Ponteland's club professional who witnessed their son's achievement.

Richard added: "It was a fascinating experience and a superbly organised tournament. It was exciting playing in front of spectators at such an historic venue with a leaderboard - it was a memorable occasion."

Richard puts his strength down to his ball striking and his long game. He is a long hitter and usually quite accurate which is definitely an advantage on links courses.

He said: "What has really brought my game on, is my putting and my short game. This year my putting has come on so much which is pretty much well down to practice."

Richard comes from very much a golfing background with mum playing at Ponteland while sister Alex was county captain a few years ago.

Richard, currently a pupil at Newcastle Royal Grammar School, hopes for a career in golf.

He stated: "I would like to do something with my golf. Obviously I have this year and next to get my handicap down as low as possible, so I intend to play as many events nationally as I can. If I do really well, I hope to see my future as a professional in some form or another."

The 2009 Golf North East Junior Champion of Champions Tournament at Close House is due to be held as we go to print and Richard is hoping he will be representing Ponteland Golf Club in the final.


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