THREE golfers from the City of Newcastle club are chasing European glory after winning a prestigious national title, writes JOHN WARDLE.

Phil Ridden, Alex Dixon and Mark Wharton were in the City team that lifted the English Champion Club trophy at the East Devon club last month.

Now they will be the country's representatives in the European Club Trophy tournament when it starts on the Golf du Medoc course in Bordeaux on Thursday.

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The trio will be facing the leading clubs from every European country and Dixon said:"The competition is certain to be tough.

"But all three of us have had good seasons and we're hopeful of putting together a challenge.

"Whatever happens, it a real honour to be representing the country, the county and our club in such an event."

Ridden currently plays off -4, Dixon's handicap is -3 and Wharton, son of former Newcastle defender Kenny Wharton, is down to -1.

Success in the Northumberland County Championship qualified them for the English club championship where they achieved a remarkable 14-shot victory as Ramside Hall, Country Durham's champions, finished 22nd.

The City team had finished as runners-up on two previous occasions and club captain John Franklin said:"We thought we were jinxed, but the lads were superb and finally got us over the line.“

Ridden, who has been reinstated as an amateur after playing on the PGA Europro Tour for two seasons, took second place in the individual competition at East Devon.

Ridden, the current Northumberland county champion, said:"It was a fantastic achievement by the team, although we were quietly confident going into the event because we had been playing well and complement each other well.

"Now we are going in to the unknown with the European tournament, but we'll give it our best shot. It should be a great experience."

DARLINGTON'S Callum Tarren was unable to build on a sublime opening round seven under par of 65 at the Foshan Open.

Tarren, who is a regular on the China Tour and was making only his second European Challenge Tour appearance last week, bagged six birdies and one eagle during that first 18 holes on what was just his fifth round on Europe’s top developmental tour.

Tarren, who is eighth on the China Tour’s Order of Merit after playing in eight events across the country this season, then posted 71,70,72 to drop down the leaderboard but still finished a respectable fifth and claimed just under £20,000.

Knowing how important a good performance was for his career, Tarren is excited to see if he can take his good form into the rest of the season.

“I am over the moon after today,” said Tarren, speaking after his first round and he finished tenth in his first ever Challenge Tour appearance at the Hainan Open a week earlier.

“I feel as though I have been playing really well over the last year or so and in particular over the last four weeks – I came third, then second on the China Tour then obviously tenth last week after a bogey-free weekend. I continued that form today and I am really happy.

“I only had one bogey today, a three-putt from 20 feet on the 16th, but apart from that it was a really good day’s work. I holed out for an eagle after pitching it in from 118 yards at the eighth which is always a bonus.

“I have been competing in China for over a year now. I am based in Darlington and try and travel out to play here in four-week blocks and get as much golf in as I can.

“It would be great to more good results. I understand the implications of playing well here but I’ve just got to focus and keep doing what I’m doing.”

Tarren finished eight shots behind eventual winner Oliver Farr as he claimed his second European Challenge Tour title and a return to the European Tour with a five-shot victory.

The Welshman, who graduated from the Challenge Tour in 2014, is assured of a place on the European Tour next season after surpassing 120,000 points with his triumph in China.