Year of glory for Norfolk, and a setback
Golf review: National glory, regional triumphs, county successes… it all came Norfolk's way in 2007. But there was one disappointment alongside the celebrations. The upside is that players from Costessey Park and King's Lynn brought two national titles to Norfolk.
National glory, regional triumphs, county successes… it all came Norfolk's way in 2007. But there was one disappointment alongside the celebrations.
The upside is that players from Costessey Park and King's Lynn brought two national titles to Norfolk. The downside is that in 2008, for the first time in seven years, Norfolk will not have a representative on the European Tour.
Dereham's Andrew Marshall lost his card at the end of the 2007 season and failed to win it back at Tour School. But he'll be playing on the 2008 Challenge Tour and aims to be quickly back in the big-time. Many Norfolk golfers follow his fortunes avidly and they'll all be wishing him luck.
Now, though, for some of the highlights of 2007.
Costessey Park's Kevin Pratt and Stuart Tough won the final of the Daily Mail Foursomes at Marriott Forest of Arden in Warwickshire. The three-handicappers came through to claim the title from an initial entry of pairs from about 3,000 clubs.
King's Lynn teenagers Bradley Harris, Kit Holmes and Luke Johnson won the English Junior Champion Club Tournament at Spalding in Lincolnshire. The lads came up on the rails to steal the title from a trio of Suffolk rivals from Stoke by Nayland.
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Holmes teamed up with three other Norfolk youngsters to sweep away with the honours at the South East of England Schools' Championship at Rookery Park. The other team members were James Phillips of Thetford, who also won the individual title, and the Costessey Park pair of Dean Parker and Chris Paton.
Meanwhile, Luke Johnson beat youngsters from Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Essex to win the regional U16 championship at Waldringfield Heath
Dunston Hall's Stuart Ballingall, 17, also put Norfolk on the map when he became the South-East junior champion, adding it to his Norfolk boys' and Norfolk schools titles.
The Norfolk boys' team teed up their season in style when they won the inter-county BUT Trophy for the first time in nine years, beating Leicestershire and Bedfordshire in the triangular match.
Eaton's Emma Davies continued her rapid rise through girls' golf with new national and county honours.
The 15-year-old has been picked for the Welsh girls' elite U18 squad and also been named as Norfolk's number one girl golfer.
King's Lynn's Amy Skoulding scored the biggest success of her career when she won the second flight at the Midland ladies' championship at Brampton Park in Cambridgeshire.
The 20-year-old county player later set a new record of two-under par 72 on her home course on her way to winning the ladies' club championship.
Weston Park's Ian Ellis dominated the professional game in the eastern counties, winning both the PGA East Region and Norfolk orders of merit.
He will play in next year's BMW Championship at Wentworth and also won four starts on next season's European Challenge Tour when he finished fourth in the PGA play-offs.
He'll be meeting up with Dereham's Andrew Marshall and Thetford's Lawrence Dodd, 24, who won a full Challenge Tour card at qualifying school.
Dodd, who has already made his debut on the European Tour, turned professional just over a year ago after a successful amateur career when he was an England international, won the Greek Amateur championship and was runner-up in the French Amateur - among a host of other honours.