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Free-to-use action picture of US Masters champion Danny Willett supplied by Callaway
An old hand who played a part in the development of US Masters champion Danny Willett has succeeded with a relatively new tournament helping promising golfers to achieve competitive tournament focus at a younger age.
Under-16 regional and national events have been around for several decades. But the 54-hole North of England Under-14 Open will go into only its third year at County Durham club South Moor in mid August.
Founded and organised by a former chairman of the England Golf junior selectors, Roy Case, the tournament has quickly become so popular the 90-strong field for 2016 is almost half full with three months to go.
Of the 44 boys and girls entered so far – over twice as many as this time last year – 18 have single figure handicaps.
Between 1994 and 2007, Case helped to guide the England junior team to two world titles plus victories in four European championships and eight home internationals.
He managed golfers such as Willett and Justin Rose, who went on to become the 2013 US Open champion.
The first winner of Case’s Under-14 regional event, in 2014, was Sheffield’s Barclay Brown, an England Boys international from the Hallamshire club who shared the title last year.
Brown’s father Seb, who like his son is a single figure golfer, said: “Barclay is too old for the event this year but the tournament will go from strength to strength.
“This is thanks to the expertise of Roy Case and the enormous effort South Moor club put into organising the event, which would be a vast drain on any club’s resources.
“As a three-round tournament it improves the concentration factor of youngsters who would only otherwise compete over 18 holes.
“I particularly like the way there is a re-draw after rounds one and two so golfers doing well can play with others who are in contention, not the norm in most junior tournaments.”
Now lead partner in the Nottinghamshire firm Golf Concepts LP, Case formed a bond with South Moor five years ago when the club hosted the McGregor Trophy, the England Boys Under-16 Open.
Dr Alister MacKenzie, the designer who enabled Bobby Jones Junior to bring his beloved Augusta National into existence, also created the course at South Moor.
*THE 2016 North of England Under-14 tournament will be played at South Moor on August 10-11-12.
To enter, and to see who has entered so far, visit www.northofenglandu14golf.co.uk
There is a separate section for Under-12s plus handicap competitions for the whole field. Players as young as nine compete.