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Never mind Hazeltine, Europe are Ryder Cup winners in County Durham

Never mind Hazeltine, Europe are Ryder Cup winners in County Durham

Rough justice for the average golfer . . .  Alan Ainscough working on South Moor’s 18th hole Picture taken by Ian Horrocks

Rough justice for the average golfer . . . Alan Ainscough working on South Moor’s 18th hole
Picture taken by Ian Horrocks

Europe’s golf team may have been second best at Hazeltine.

But in County Durham the South Moor club were winners in every sense at their Ryder Cup Showcase Tournament.

Held on the same weekend as the big show in America, members represented Europe and invited guests to play for America, resulting in a win for “Europe” by 10.5 points to 6.5.

Yet the star turn was not playing . . . South Moor’s head greenkeeper Alan Ainscough, who had been given a special mission.

This year, for the first time in the club’s 93-year history, a board has been elected.

At a meeting called to discuss the future direction of the club, an overwhelming majority of members made the directors aware they felt that that in recent years the course has become too hard for the average golfer.

Alan and his staff set to work eliminating the deepest rough before the tournament with widening of some fairways planned over the winter months.

The “best guest” at the tournament, former Sunderland Academy and Birtley Town footballer Dan Waller, liked the greens staff’s work so much he joined the club.

Dan, who signed for 39 stableford points, said: “I fell out of love with football and started playing golf two years ago. I was a member of George Washington last year and this season I joined Birtley.”

The tournament organiser, club director Paul Butler, said: “Our heathland course at South Moor was designed by Alister MacKenzie, who created Augusta National.

“So we are being careful to stay true to his design.”

Said Dan, a 22-year-old warehouseman from Washington, “I have become obsessed with golf and I immediately fell in love with South Moor.

“It’s a beautiful course – something completely different – and I particularly enjoyed the downhill par five tenth with that lovely long fairway leading down to the raised green . . . spectacular.”

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