Darlington golfer hopes title success is a sign of more to come

A YOUNG golfer from Darlington has stunned a field of amateur internationals by taking his own significant step towards the bigger stages.

Andrew Wilson, a Geography student at Northumbria University, had never figured in the upper reaches of top competitions before until he showed exactly what he is capable of at Middlesbrough Brass Castle.

The 19-year-old's four solid rounds, the third of which was a brilliant 64, to claim a nail-biting North of England Open Amateur Youth Championship.

Wilson, a minus two-handicapper, finished a shot clear of Huddersfield's Nick Marsh. Bedale's Daniel Brown was a short further back in third, but Wilson never struggled after his fine opening round 67 by following it up with 69, 64, 68.

That was enough to claim the 39th North of England title. He said: "I've always known I had it in me, but in many respects this was a complete surprise because I had not won anything like it before.

"There were England internationals, top amateur golfers out there, so for me to do what I did can give me a lot of confidence going forward. Everything just went to plan.

"The first two rounds I just wanted to stay in the mix and I did. Then in the second round my putts started dropping and it all went from there."

Wilson, a former pupil at the Education Village, has only started playing in national events this year because he has had backing from his Northumbria University scholarship, the Royal & Ancient and his mum and dad, Carole and Brian.

He is currently playing in the Lee Westwood Trophy at Rotherham Golf Club. He is also scheduled to play in the Waterford Trophy in Kent and the North-East Amateur at Pannal before the end of the season where he is hoping his good form continues.

"I started playing golf when I was a kid with my mates really," said Wilson. "I got a real bug for it and kept going. After University, I have two years left, hopefully I will turn pro.

"I used to play football but then when I started to have lessons with Ralph Givens at Stressholme my golf really started to take off. After three years I went to Darlington. The pro there James Cousins still helps me with my putting.

"And through University I'm also up at Close House quite a bit for coaching with Jon Lupton, who works on my swing. Hopefully this win is a sign that everything is working and going well."

MIDDLESBROUGH delivered a delightful treble in the Teesside and District Union last weekend.

The glory push started in the Boys Championship when Ben McKie, off an eight handicap, got his hands on the gross prize by shooting a credible 74, which was one shot clear of Saltburn runner-up Ryan Elliott at Eaglescliffe.

Elliotts score remained the best nett until both Tom Hollingworth (Saltburn) and Jake Davies (Middlesbrough) came in with 68s, when the latter took the nett score by virtue of a better back nine holes.

And in the Seniors League Middlesbrough delivered again when Billingham missed out in dramatic fashion to lose their final game.

The drama came when Billingham went to Hartlepool for their rearranged fixture. Needing just two points out of 13, Billingham could only manage a single point as Hartlepool ran out 12-1 winners.

The single point took Billingham level with Middlesbrough at the top of the league, but Middlesbrough snatched the championship with a higher bonus points score.

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