JAMES WILSON has already placed his sights on starring on the men’s stage for the long term after becoming the first two-time winner of the Northern Golfer Champion of Champions.

The Tyneside Golf Club member was the star of the show when he achieved the feat at the annual tournament which pits the best in the area together at Ramside Hall, and he was one of three to win main awards as well as perform superbly in the elder category.

The Durham cap became the first to win the Junior Champion of Champions twice with his victory over the Cathedral Course. His six under-par round of 66 from the yellow tees led the field by seven shots as last year’s junior champion, Whitley Bay’s Rosie Belsham, finished in second place. Seaton Carew’s Cameron Wallace completed the top three with his round of 74.

In the ladies event, Whickham Golf Club’s Faye Wheatley led a talented field with a round of 77, one shot clear of Ramside’s Maggie Whitehead. Close House’s Claire Brown, who finished third in 2018, completed the top three.

Seven days later, Garforth Golf Club’s Josh Bassitt overcame the stern test of the Cathedral Course’s blue tees with a round of 72 to lead an elite field featuring 57 of the north’s best male golfers as Hobson Golf Club’s Andrew Rafferty shot 73 to claim the runner-up spot and Wilson took third place on countback following a round of 74.

Wilson, 20, said: “It’s a great feeling. It was great to get the job done in the junior event . I knew I was one of the favourites coming in, but to go out there and shoot 66 was a nice way to get it done. A win is always going to be a solid finish to the year and being the champion of champions has a nice ring to it.

“I’ve got university golf coming up through the winter and into the start of 2020. From there we’ll see how next summer’s national events go – hopefully I’ll be back for the men’s Champion of Champion event at the end of next year too.”

Wheatley, aged just 14, was stunned to have claimed the overall ladies crown.

She said: “It was a massive shock when the final scores came in and I found out I’d won. I started with a birdie and made another one at the fourth, which was a nice start.

“From there I played really tidy golf on a tough course. The event has been a great experience and I’m proud to have my first win in a regional event. I’m looking forward to building on it next year with some good results in national events and it will be good to come back and defend my title.”

Bassitt, who paid tribute to Ramside’s green staff and all the caddies and supporters who had been part of the three events when collecting the trophy, was delighted to have made his tri north worthwhile.

He said: “It’s very special to be the champion of club champions from so many clubs around the region. I struggled at the start of the year having been inspired to get the clubs back out after watching the Ryder Cup.

“I bit the bullet and started working with James Whitaker at Garforth Golf Range, which allowed me to build some confidence coming into the final stretch of the season. I drove the ball really well today, which was always going to be the key to playing a 7000-yard course which had been soaked by rain.

“I also had some big moments down the stretch. Hitting it into the water at 16 and 17, and making two pars really kept things going. To get a win this season is a fantastic feeling and it has inspired me to work hard this winter and see what I can achieve in 2020.”

This year’s events, supported by partners Brewin Dolphin - one of the largest British investment management and financial planning firms - and hosted by Ramside Hall for a third consecutive year, welcomed more than 100 golfers from clubs in Northumberland, Durham, Teesside, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Douglas Montgomerie, consultant at Brewin Dolphin, presented the prizes to the winners and praised the talented golfers who’d been part of the events.

He said: “The quality of the golf displayed over these three events has been remarkable. James, Faye and Josh are supremely talented golfers and they are a real credit to golf in our region.”

Helen Roseberry, Ramside’s director of golf, added: “It’s been another fantastic year of Champion of Champions events and we’ve really enjoyed welcoming so many of the North’s most talented golfers to our club over the two weekends. We’re very proud to be part of these events with Northern Golfer, and now Brewin Dolphin, and look forward to welcoming the region’s best players to Ramside in the future.”