County Durham PE teacher John Kirkpatrick tamed the winds today to win the English Senior Men’s County Champion of Champions tournament by five strokes at Woodhall Spa.
The Ramside Hall member was four-under today and three-under for 36 holes as he claimed the title at his first attempt, having just joined senior ranks.
He adds this to an impressive set of county honours which spans four decades. Kirkpatrick won the Cumbria county championship as an 18-year-old, followed up with the RAF championship in 1986 and then won the Durham men’s county championship five years ago and added the Durham seniors this year.
But the main reason that he’s so pleased to win is because “I missed my son’s engagement party last night so I was under a bit of pressure!” Now it seems a double celebration is on the cards for the Fitzpatrick family.
Kirkpatrick opened his challenge yesterday with a sore of one-over 74 on the Hotchkin course and he trailed Bedfordshire’s Philip Sutton (Dunstable Downs) by three shots.
Today, with stiff winds blowing, the pair went out together in the final group and Fitzpatrick had caught his rival after three holes and held a two shot lead by the turn. He played the front nine in three-under and, despite heading into the winds on the way in, he was one-under on the homeward half.
“I haven’t had a three-putt in 36 holes and the greens are rapid, so I was pleased with that,” said Kirkpatrick, who plays off plus-two. “And I didn’t have a double bogey.”
He teaches PE at the Durham Sixth Form Centre, which boasts a golf academy. “We’ve got some very good young golfers, especially girls. We’ve sent four to American universities in the last couple of years,” he said.
Sutton finished as runner-up on two-over par, while Cheshire’s Martyn Grimley (Ringway) was third on six-over, having shot one-under today.
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