This week saw a pride of Cheshire Boys play in the North of England Under 16 Championship at Pannal Golf Golf Club. This is a prestigious, annual event with a strong national field; this year was no different.
From 1957 to 1964 Pannal Club, near Harrogate, staged the British Amateur Youth Championship where many juniors competed who went on to top level professional careers. Notable winners include Alex Caygill and Brian Barnes. The event returned in 1975 when it was won by Nick Faldo, who set a course record at that time of 65 on his way to victory.
2001 saw the inauguration of the North of England Under 16’s Stroke Play Championship which ran until 2005 and then returned here again in 2010. Again there have been many players who have gone on to great things, including Pablo Martin, the first man to win as an amateur and then a professional on the European Tour. Carlota Ciganda, the U14’s winner in 2003 went on to win the British Ladies Amateur in 2007 before winning the ISPS Handa Order of Merit and being named Players’ Player of the Year and the LET Rookie of the Year in 2012. The most impressive step up into the professional game however has surely been made by the U16’s winner of 2010 Matt Fitzpatrick, when he became a major winner through his victory in the 2022 US Open at Brookline, Massachusetts.
This week’s 2023 Tournament:
The 72 hole tournament was played over 3 days. Days 1 and 2, 18 holes and the top 24 boys then making the cut for a final 36 holes on the final day.
Cheshire Boys U16 entries were : Ben Buchanan (Crewe), Harry Kell (Sandiway), Lucas Kuiper (Stockport), Aaron Mohun (Delamere Forest), Cole Self (Ringway) who made up part of the national field. All boys had strong performances on the 1st day but Harry Kell topped the overall leader board with Ben Buchanan on 69 after starting bogey, bogey, par, eagle then carding 6 birdies at holes 7 to 13 to finish 3 under par. Harry then defended his lead through day 2 scoring a 2 under par round taking his total to 5 under par. Round 3 was another sub-par round taking his to 6 under par overall and still holding the lead. On day 3 the lead was kept right up to the end in a closely fought thriller which saw one of his closest challengers, Archie Cook of Goswick, make an eagle, par, birdie victory to win the overall tournament. Ben finished 12th and Lucas came 21st.
Lucas, Harry, Aaron and Ben had added stresses on Thursday morning having to go online and find out their GCSE results just minutes before they were scheduled to tee off. All 4 of them got excellent results which means that they can be proud of their 2023 achievements and look forward to kicking on with studies and golf in 2023/2024.