Young Talent On Show

Talented youngsters from across the region took to the Matfen Hall fairways in Northumberland to compete in The Rock - Northern Rock's annual junior golf festival.

Talented youngsters from across the region took to the Matfen Hall fairways in Northumberland to compete in The Rock - Northern Rock's annual junior golf festival. A whole host of the best young players from the North East teed off in the Pro-Am element of one of the largest junior golf tournaments in the North East, with one PGA professional per team.

Playing with well-known golf pro Jonathan Graham from Siloth-on-Solway Golf Club, the first prize for the much coveted Rock Trophy went to winners Grace Anderson (Morpeth Golf Club), Adam Nicholson (Backworth Golf Club) and Luke Brown (Billingham Golf Club).

The proud champions, who are all aged 13, walked away with the prize trophies as well as PGA vouchers worth £60 each to stock up on everything a budding Tiger Woods would need to practice their game.

Coming a close second, Matfen Hall's very own professional John Harrison's team was made up of Tom Murray, William Urwin and James Clarke, who are also all members at Matfen Hall.

Third place went to Andrew Wakefield of Garesfield Golf Club, Alan Paton from Goswick Golf Club, and Tom Lee - all three played with golf professional Paul Carman.

Individual awards went to Goswick Golf Club's Alan Paton and Beamish Park's Martin Bryant for the Nearest to Pin on the 8th and 10th hole respectively, while Longest Drive went to Kurt Yule from Goswick Golf Club. All winners received PGA vouchers sponsored by Northern Rock.

John Graham, who led the winning team, said: "There was certainly tough competition out there on the course. With 19 teams of incredibly talented young golfers competing for the cup, my team certainly worked their socks off to reach first place.

"It's a real pleasure to meet and play alongside some of the region's future golfing stars. Judging by the talent on display I'm sure I'll be competing against some of them again in the professional ranks in the not too distant future."

Northern Rock's Claire Smith said: "It's been another great festival and has given some of the region's children the opportunity to play in a professional tournament with the North's most admired professionals - something I'm sure they will never forget.

"However, the main purpose of the day was to give those who hadn't tried golf before the opportunity to do so, and to encourage others to move on to another level. Above all, the emphasis is on having fun and enjoying a family day out, whilst of course learning something new."

Event coordinator Ted Nicholls added: "The Rock is now an established part of the North East golf calendar and has become hugely successful over the years. The professionals look forward to the Junior Pro-Am just as much as the youngsters because they are helping to encourage the players of the future."

Alongside the Pro-Am tournament, over 300 youngsters aged between five and 15 received free golf coaching from Instinctive Golf, whilst Rookie Sports provided Tri Golf sessions for under five's throughout the day.

Mark Shone, from Rookie Sports, said: "We had a great turnout for the Tri Golf sessions this year - with children as young as three taking part while their older brothers and sisters were putting away in the clinics.


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