TWO North-East colleges finished top five in a national competition at St Andrew’s.

Durham Sixth Form Centre finished fourth and Hartlepool College of Further Education claimed fifth out of 19 teams in the British Colleges Sport Open Golf Championship.

Durham’s team – consisting of Aaron Macmanus, Jonathan Cossar, Jake Herron and Tom Skelton - carded a 461 total, which was 14 shots shy of the winners, Balby Academy of Sport.

Loading article content

That was the same total posted by Hartlepool’s quartet of Tom Nicholson, Matthew Davison, Jonathan Conley and Robbie Bailey – and that was one place higher than their sixth spot 12 months ago.

In the individual boys’ gross, Macmanus was the highest placed from the region with a 147 for his two rounds. Conley was three shots further back, while Newcastle Under-Lyme College’s Gian Marco Petrozzi won it with 143.

THE search has started for the 2014 champions of England Golf’s National Skills Challenge.

This year’s competition, sponsored by FJ, has just begun and the first official Challenge event of 2014 is underway.

Over 800 clubs and ranges, amounting to around 6000 juniors, are registered to take part in this year’s National Skills Challenge – and there’s still time to enter. The top players who take part in the two official challenges will be eligible to qualify for the 96 regional final places and the top 32 will go forward to the national final.

The 2014 club challenge dates are: Challenge 1 – Saturday, March 1to Sunday, May 4; Challenge 2 – Monday, May 5 to Sunday, July 6. The regional finals will be held in August and the national final in September.

Dates and venues for the regional and national finals, together with the live online leaderboards, and information on how to register are available now

DARLINGTON’S Ellie Givens missed the cut in Morocco last week when she carded two rounds of 77-74 in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Agadir, Morocco. Solheim Cup winner Charley Hull won the Ladies European Tour tournament after a play-off having tied with Gwladys Nocera on 15 under.

Middleham’s American based Jodi Ewart-Shadoff, who was part of the same Solheim Cup winning team as Hull, will start her push for early season glory at the Founders Cup today.

Ewart-Shadoff tees off with Ilhee Lee and Chella Choi at the Wildfire Golf Club her first two outings of the year have ended in tied 45th finishes at the HSBC Women’s Champions and at the Honda LPGA Thailand.