Golfing future looks bright as young talent comes to the fore

Friday, December 28, 2012
6.06 PM

The big event on the county’s calendar, the Norfolk Amateur Championship, produced a thrilling finish – and a new winner.

Youngsters dominated the event at Thetford, with three of them in contention to lift the trophy going down the 18th and a play-off looking the most likely outcome.

Kit Holmes of Hunstanton came in with a round of 72 to pip King’s Lynn’s Luke Johnson by one shot and then looked on with a mixture of surprise and relief as Caldecott Hall’s Aaron Bullock failed to get up and down to clinch the title – and then missed a short putt to take it into overtime.

Costessey Park’s Matthew Bacon was another player to have a good year, winning the both the scratch and handicap County Order of Merit titles, while Eaton’s George Morris was the top man in the county matchplay event at Swaffham, beating Alex Carter at the first extra hole. It was, by and large a year when young players ruled the roost although Royal Norwich’s Dan Henderson teamed up with Brian Belshaw to win the County Foursomes at Yarmouth and Caister.

King’s Lynn’s Jack Yule bowed out of junior golf in impressive style when he lifted the EDP Foursomes Trophy for the third successive year. He teamed up with Royal Cromer’s Tom Gomer at Costessey Park to claim an emphatic victory in the final event of the season.

Royal Cromer’s Gomer had earlier marked himself down as one to watch in the years ahead when he won the Norfolk Boys’ Championship – while at the other end of the age scale his club colleague David Pattrick made home advantage tell to win the Norfolk Seniors title.

The Norfolk county teams had mixed fortunes, with the firsts finishing bottom in the Anglian League with just one win from five matches and the seconds securing third position in their section.

That might sound like nothing to write home about but to win two matches and halve another was a notable achievement for Steve Tidy’s young side, who had gone several seasons without a win before this year.

A familiar face at all amateur competitions stood down at the end of the golfing year with David Horsburgh relinquishing his post as county secretary.

After four years in the hot-seat he annouced his decision to step down at the NCGU annual meeting, with Yarmouth and Caister’s Mike Devlin taking over at the helm – but kept working tirelessly being the scenes during the summer to help his successor bed in.

“I’ve enjoyed the job but now I have reached the ripe of old age of 70 I feel it is time to stand down,” explained the former secretary, who will now have more time to his work with the English and Norfolk Schools Golf Associations.

One young player who will have to be watched closely in 2013 is Mundesley’s Toby Briggs. The son of Dunston Hall director of golf Peter Briggs was called into the England East Region Under-16 squad after slashing his handicap from 14 to four during a memorable season that saw him equal the course record of 63 at his home club.