THREE teenage golfers are still smiling after becoming the first from County Durham to win the English Schools’ Team Championship.

Hartlepool’s Dyke House Academy is celebrating after its golf team became the first school from the area to be crowned national champions, with the previous best being fifth.

Will Skipp, aged 17, Jack Burton, 14, and Louis Westmoreland, 14, finished top of the leaderboard at the home of England Golf, Woodhall Spa, to win prestigious title – and they will never forget it.

The tournament is normally won by private schools, but Dyke House’s golfers made everyone sit up and take notice by producing performances to put Hartlepool and Durham on the national golfing map.

The trio receive top coaching and advice at Wynyard Golf Club from Dyke House’s golf consultant/coach Graeme Storm as well as coach James Harper, on top of the one-to-one coaching they receive from their usual coaches at their respective clubs.

Burton scored 40 points at Woodhall Spa while Westmoreland carded just one less to give Dyke House a three-shot victory on seven-under above Scarborough’s Graham School.

Skipp, the Durham County Boys captain heading for the Carris Trophy next week, has won the Durham Schools’ Under-16s and Boys titles, carded 35 points, and has played in the Durham Schools’ Team Championship since stepping up from primary school.

The plus-two handicapper, from Eaglescliffe who is also coached by Wynyard’s Andrew Betts, said: “I have played for the team since Year 7 and I am now in Year 12, so it’s nice to have gone all the way and won.”

Burton, who plays off four at Wynyard and coached by Harper, was confident after seeing how well they did at Beamish in the regional stage.

He said: “We tried our best and we came out winners. It has sank in now. I feel proud to know what we have achieved.”

And Westmoreland, an 11 handicapper from Seaton Carew where he is coached by Cliff Jackson, said: “It was the best I have played on a tricky course. I kept the ball in play and scored well, it felt good to beat every school in England.”

All three have thoroughly enjoyed improving under the watchful eye of European Tour golfer Storm, who is Dyke House’s golf consultant and coach.

Dyke House’s principal Adam Palmer said: “It’s a fantastic achievement that we are incredibly proud of. It’s proof that with hard work, dedication and a desire to improve that truly amazing things can happen.

“We talk to the students all the time about the importance of hard work and all three of the boys epitomise this with their golf. I’m sure they’ll look back on this achievement and be very proud.”

Dyke House, a Northern Education Trust Academy, has prided itself on producing talented golfers over the years and all three players are part of its Elite Development Squad programme.

Storm, vice-president of Durham Golf Union, said: “It is a massive achievement for the school. We have had players who have had lower handicaps before as a team, but to go and manage to win a national title is fantastic for them all and thoroughly deserved.”