Stephen Johnstone from Linden Hall is another young golfer hoping to do well in the region's top junior tournament - the Golf North East Junior Champion of Champions. The event is aimed at all of the junior champions in the North East - but 16-year-old Stephen went one step further.
Not only did he win Linden Hall's junior club championship, he won the men's as well ensuring a place in both our competition at Stocksfield and a coveted entry into our sister title, the Journal's Champion of Champions, being played at De Vere Slaley Hall.
The junior competition at Linden was run in conjunction with the first round of the Gents Championships where Stephen scored a gross 80 and a tie for 1st place with Alex Winter. He then went onto birdie the first in the play off to take the title. Carrying over his 80 into the 2nd round of the Gents, Stephen scored an excellent 73 for a gross total of 153 to become Linden Hall's Club Champion - a brilliant effort considering his age.
Stephen started playing golf nine years ago when he moved with his family from Belfast to Linden Acres, next to Linden Hall in Northumberland. He explained: "When we moved to Linden Hall, dad introduced me to golf. That was in October 1998 and I was seven at the time. With living next door to the golf course, dad would have me out on it all the time."
Initially, Stephen received coaching from David Curry at Linden before moving onto David Mather at Burgham Park. This season, he is now under the wing of John Harrison at Matfen Hall and between the three of them, they have groomed this young man into a stylish golfer with a very bright future.
In four seasons, Stephen's handicap has tumbled dramatically. He said: "When I got my first handicap I was off 40, and that season I got it down to 22. The next season I went from 22 to 12 and last year, I went from 12 to 5. And this year, I've been cut to 4."
"It's all just practice really, during school time I don't really do that much but in the summer, I practice three to four hours everyday as well as playing. John Harrison has helped me with my consistency and that goes a long way to putting a good round together," he explained.
Stephen will be joining dozens of our gifted juniors at Stocksfield Golf Club on Thursday 30th August, where they will compete for our new trophy and the title of Golf North East Junior Champion of Champions.