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Wynyard welcome maiden league triumph
A FEW years ago there was an ambition at Wynyard Golf Club to have a team which reflected a course rightly regarded as one of the finest in the North-East. This summer, ahead of schedule, the prestigious club achieved its goal.
Wynyard success: the view down the seventh on the Wellington Course
Last weekend, despite losing comprehensively to defending champions Bishop Auckland, Wynyard were crowned Teesside and District Union of Golf champions for the very first time. The success was just reward for a decision to take the competition more seriously in 2010.
“I have been here for about 12 years and when I took over the running of the team four years ago I didn’t want to have a team playing in Division Three,” said Wynyard’s director golf Chris Mounter. “With all of our facilities and what we have here, I didn’t think it was right that we should be happy to be in the lower divisions.
“So the decision was made. If we were going to be playing in the Teesside Union League then we should be doing everything we could to be the best we could be. Ideally that was a place in Division One, firstly, and I must admit I did not expect to go up through the divisions as quickly as we did.
“I did, having said that, expect us to win the Division One title last year after achieving promotion. But this year will do! It’s a great achievement for us and by the golfers involved.”
While Wynyard have been playing in the TSGU league for more than a decade, it was at the start of the summer in 2010 when things started to improve. After sealing promotion from Division Three that year, they also won the Division Two title 12 months later to give them a place in the top tier.
After narrowly losing out to Bishop Auckland last summer, Wynyard went one better this time around by claiming the honour in dramatic circumstances on the Wellington Course last weekend ahead of the title holders.
“We were losing quite comfortably to Bishop but when word got back to us in the clubhouse that we just needed to avoid defeat in the last game of the day for us to win the title we tried our best to get the message across,” said Mounter.
“Fortunately for us it was Lee McCavanagh, our second top points scorer over the summer with 19, still out on the course against Bishop’s Graham Milne. We went out to tell Lee and he was going down the 16th at the time one down to Graham.
“But then Lee chipped in off the 16th green to win the hole. The last two holes were halved and we managed to keep the defeat down to 16-8, which meant we finished level on (192) points with Bishop Auckland – and we won the title on away points (85-81).”
Over the course of the 14-match summer in a league which sees six handicappers team up with six scratch golfers, Robert Moon proved Wynyard’s most valuable player but there were significant contributions rights across a 16-man squad, which also included the likes of Callum Tarren and Greg Johnson even though neither figured on the final weekend.
As well as Moon and McCavanagh, Matt Hayes, Adam Brown, Lee Bennett, Tony Littlefair, Aman Dhillon, Mike Greener, Robbie Bailey, Kyle Bacon and Lee Murray were part of the final 12-man team which lost to Bishop but ultimately celebrated a maiden title triumph.
“There’s plenty of reasons why winning this is good for the club,” said Mounter. “There might not be a financial boost or anything like that, but it’s a great boost to everyone here and what we are doing.
“We have the best practice facilities in the area and the course is in fantastic condition, so when you have a team that is also performing well, it increases the spotlight on us and it can help us to attract a better standard of golfer.
“If we are seen to have a top team as well as the best facilities then more golfers want to come and play at Wynyard, so winning the league for the first time helps to show us off in a good light and could bring in new members.”
* For more news on the final standings in the TSGU League see this Saturday’s Local Heroes.
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