County champions aim for title glory

Kent’s Jacob Kelso and Lincolnshire’s Simon Richardson will defend their titles at this weekend’s English County Champion of Champions tournaments on the Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa.

Kelso won the boys’ title in a play-off last year while Richardson birdied the last hole to win the men’s championship at his third attempt.

They return this weekend, with the boys playing on Saturday, while the men compete on Sunday. The senior men’s county champions, meanwhile, will be in action on both days, with an 18-hole round on each.

The competition will be stiff in all three events. Kelso’s (King’s Hill) challengers include Yorkshire’s Ben Schmidt and Hertfordshire’s Dominic Clemons.

Schmidt (Rotherham) was runner-up in both the English and Italian U16 championships and the winner of the prestigious Lee Westwood Trophy. Clemons (Hanbury Manor) was an U16 boy international.

In the men’s event, Richardson (Spalding) – Lincolnshire champion for the fifth time – faces such rivals as Devon’s Jake Burnage, Gloucestershire’s Nick Day and Curtis Knipes of Essex.

Burnage (Saunton) is an England international and will go to Woodhall Spa from Conwy in Wales, where he is part of the team at this week’s Men’s Home Internationals. Day (Henbury) won the English mid-amateur championship – the Logan Trophy – by nine shots. Knipes (Abridge) was a member of the winning England team at the recent Boys’ Home Internationals.

The senior men’s competition will result in a new champion, for none of the past winners will be present this weekend. Contenders include current and former internationals such as Richard Partridge, Tyrone Carter and Andrew Carman.

All the competitions are played over 36 holes.


Caption: Simon Richardson (copyright Leaderboard Photography)