ROSS Crowe, a club champion at Newcastle United and Westerhope in his amateur days, got his second professional season off to a flying start yesterday.
The 24-year-old former Northumberland County golfer won a play-off to capture the Skycaddie PGA North Region Assistants’ Championship at Ilkley in Yorkshire.
Crowe, who had a tilt at the Europro Tour last summer, started his PGA apprenticeship in the autumn joining Spike Nesbit and George Cowan in the Westerhope pros’ shop.
In regulation play, Crowe had three birdies and three bogeys in his 69, a score matched by Bradford’s James Sibbles and Cheshire assistant Graham Neville.
Crowe kept his composure to prevail at the par four first extra hole with a solid par, Sibbles conceding a double bogey.
Bizarrely, Neville failed to arrive at the tee in time for the play-off. He returned home thinking he’d no chance of winning and, after being phoned by the organisers, got stuck in a traffic jam trying to get back to the course.
“I should have won it earlier,” said Crowe. “I had four or five ten-foot putts in my round that just shaved the hole.”
Who plays on the Europro Tour this season will be finalised today when the third and last round of final qualifying is played at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire.
Morpeth’s Steve Fawcitt (70 73) and David Clark ( 72 71) lead the North East and Cumbria contingent after two rounds.
They are on one-under 143 among several players tied 29th lying 11 shots off the lead.
Penrith’s James Housby is one over and Brampton’s James Wilkinson four over. Morpeth’s Mark Penny and City of Newcastle’s Phil Ridden scraped in right on the cut line at five over.
Hexham’s Chris McDonnell missed the cut on eight over.
In Kuala Lumpur, Louis Oosthuizen (pictured below) shrugged off the disappointment of his Masters play-off defeat to make a strong start with a 66 at the Malaysian Open, his close friend and playing partner Charl Schwartzel leading following an eight-under 64. Hartlepool’s Graeme Storm is four shots behind the projected cut mark.