Minnikin storms to victory in Men’s County Champion of Champions

Andrew Minnikin has admitted it feels special to claim his first national individual title and carry on a season of success for golfers from Northumberland.

The City of Newcastle golfer was crowned English Men’s County Champion of Champions after victory in the 36-hole stroke play event at Woodhall Spa Golf Club.

Minnikin carded rounds of 70 and 69 for a winning total of seven under par – two shots clear of Warwickshire’s Seb Cave in second spot.

Cave edged out Gloucestershire’s Nick Day on countback thanks to a second round 68 – the best score of the day.

It was a bitter-sweet weekend for England boys’ international Cave (pictured below) who performed superbly in the men’s event and also finished runner up in the English Boys’ Champion of Champions tournament staged over 36 holes on Saturday at the same Lincolnshire venue.

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Minnikin is no stranger to lifting silverware at county level, but national success had eluded him until today’s 36-hole success story.

Earlier this year he finished second to club mate and good friend Phil Ridden in the Logan Trophy (English Mid Amateur), but was able to ditch the bridesmaid tag once and for all with a win in this event.

A sparkling back nine on the Hotchkin saw Minnikin come home in four under par and finish with birdies at 17 and 18 to get his hands on the trophy.

“It feels fantastic,” he confirmed.

“I’ve played in a number of national events as an individual over the years and had a little bit of success, a couple of second places and never quite got it over the line so this feels amazing.

“I’m not a leaderboard watcher but every now and then I asked my caddie Ian what do I need to do?

“I felt in control of my game which is nice and I was stroking the ball well on the greens so I knew that if I needed to find a couple of birdies I had the potential to do that.

“It was nice to get the job done.

“It’s strange because I didn’t have things going this morning and holed a couple of putts to get a little bit of momentum and then a good finish to the round allowed me to find something.

“This afternoon I played well and didn’t quite get everything out the round that I could have, but a couple of solid birdies in the last two holes helped seal it.

“I didn’t make mistakes and that was quite pleasing.”

Golfers from Northumberland have enjoyed a purple patch in recent years.

City of Newcastle have won national and European club crowns with Minnikin in the line-up.

This year Ridden and Minnikin have won individual national titles while the boys’ squad recently won the County Finals.

The men’s squad – of which Minnikin is a part – could do the double when they play in the Men’s County Finals at Remedy Oak later this month.

Minnikin said: “At the moment we have a crop of young juniors – the boys winning the county finals and a good six or seven in the men’s squad are peaking at the same time.

“The team spirit is fantastic and we all play for one and other and you want success.

“It’s been long overdue from the 1960’s and the Alan Thirlwell, Jimmy Hayes, David Moffat days.

“If we can bring more success back to Northumberland at the end of this year it will be fantastic.”


Photography: Leaderboard