CITY of Newcastle Golf Club are off to France this month after storming through the field to win the English Men’s Champion Club tournament at Essex’s Romford Golf Club.
The Northumbrian club will be England’s representatives at the European Men’s Club Trophy, at Bordeaux’s Golf du Medoc, from October 24-26.
The “In Toon” Geordie boys claimed the De Montmorency Trophy for the second time in the last three years.
The victory also made up for the disappointment of narrowly missing out on defending the title last year when they finished runners-up to Berkshire’s Castle Royle, at Huddersfield.
The City of Newcastle team – comprising Alex Dixon, Phil Ridden and Andrew Minnikin – started the final round on two-over par and seven shots off the pace set by Royal Lytham & St Annes.
But they shaved nine shots off that score in the second round with Dixon carding a four-under 67, while Ridden shot a 68 and Minnikin contributed a level-par 71.
That was enough to see them claim a four-shot victory over Essex champions Chelmsford after posting a five-under total of 421, with Northamptonshire County one shot further back on level par.
“We’re really overjoyed,” said the winning team manager Simon Coultas.
“It didn’t look likely after Saturday’s round, but we battled away and in the end it proved to be enough.
“This tournament has been very good to us over the last three years,” he added.
“We’ve got three or four really good county players at the club and that’s held us in good stead.
“Alex and Phil were in the team that won in 2017 so they know what it’s like to represent England in Europe. We’re looking forwards to it already.”
“I think playing early in the second round probably helped us,” added Dixon.
“We were able to post and score and then sit back and let the others try and catch us. I’d always rather do that than have to do the chasing.
“We finished third in the team event in France two years ago so it would be great if we could do better than that,” said Dixon.
“Phil and I know what it’s all about so we will be able to give Andrew so pointers.”
The Chelmsford team, made up of Arron Edwards-Hill, Shay McQueen and Brandon Meads, were tied for second place with Northamptonshire County on three-under par after the opening day.
Their score was helped in no small measure by a 64 from Arron Edwards-Hill, and he went on to card a 69 in the second round while Meads shot a 70 and McQueen posted a 76.
Edward-Hill’s consolation for seeing his team lose out to City of Newcastle was that his nine-under score was enough to see him clinch a single-shot victory in the individual competition.
He pipped Northamptonshire County’s Callum Farr – runner up in the English Amateur at Hankley Common in August – by one.
Herfordshire’s Tom Speyer, from Harpenden GC, finished third after carding two rounds of 68.
Farr shot a 65 and a 69 which helped his club finish third in the team event with his teammates Corey Neville and Charlie Salter closing with a 73 and a 74 to finish on level-par.
The second day proved to be something of a disappointment for Royal Lytham & St Annes’ representatives Callan Barrow, Harry Talarczyk and Jamie Van Wyke, who combined to shoot a five-under total on the opening day.
But the Lancashire champions drifted out of contention with a six-over par total of 219 on the second day to finish fourth a shot behind Northamptonshire’s champions.
For the second day in a row Barrow produced his club’s best score by adding a one over par 72 to his opening 68. Talarczyk carded a 73 while Van Wyke shot a 74.