What an ace green keeper
Ace drive: Thomas Tomlinson (left) with impressed fellow competitor Reese Murray on the third green at South Moor.
Historic drive: South Moor captain David Elgy on the tee just before hitting the first ever shot
in a new series of tournaments to honour iconic course designer Alister MacKenzie.
MacKenzie Masters SeriesTHERE is no point in your golf course being created by the same man who designed Augusta National if your staff don’t take a pride in it. Which explains why Thomas Tomlinson, an assistant greenkeeper at South Moor, got up at 5am on the morning of an historic new event. He started work 30 minutes later to get the greens cut in time. Following a three and a half hour shift, he breakfasted on a sausage butty at 9am. Thomas teed off in the tournament at 11.24 . . . and just after 12.0 noon became the talk of the clubhouse by landing his first hole-in-one. His feat came in the opening event of the MacKenzie Masters Series at his home town club. The series has been created this year in honour of the late Alister MacKenzie, a Yorkshire born golf course designer and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. South Moor is among the courses designed by MacKenzie as is Augusta National, home of the US Masters. A former pupil at Stanley School of Technology, 23-year-old Thomas started playing golf at South Moor at the age of 14 and began working at the club three years ago. He found out his 142-yard shot from the third tee had dropped in when a fellow competitor who could see the green from an adjoining hole gave him the thumbs up. “By way of celebration, I raised my arms in the air, nothing over the top,” said Thomas afterwards. “The ball landed a couple feet behind the flag. It hopped and spun – and then rolled in.” The MacKenzie Masters Series is enabling community conscious South Moor to showcase their course to visiting golfers this season for a cut-price green fee of £12.50. Monthly Saturday Open tournaments – each with a £100 first prize – lead up to a Grand Final at South Moor on September 16, with ten players going through from each qualifier. Club golfers can reserve their place by clicking on BOOK TEE TIMES (above). Thomas, a four-handicap player, chose a pitching wedge for his spectacular tee shot. It was not enough to give him a place among the all important top ten with victory going to the home club’s Michael Hannon on 42 stableford points. Michael made par out of bunkers on successive holes, sinking a 25-foot putt on the 13th and splashing out to two feet at 14. He is one a group of five friends – all former members of Durham City and Roseberry Grange – who joined South Moor in September. “We love it,” he said. “The course is great and the members are very friendly.” For more information on the MacKenzie Masters Series – and how it impacts on The 2017 Golf Guide Tour – see this link to The Northern Echo website: https://tinyurl.com/mm589vu INITIAL MMS QUALIFIERS 1 M Hannon 42 (back 9) £100 voucher 2 P Long 42 £30 voucher 3 G Cattrell 41 £20 voucher 4 A Bolton 40 5 D Bryan 39 (back 9) 6 M Rahman 39 7 A Levett 38 (back 9) 8 J Walker 38 9 P Davison 37 (back 6) 10 R Fraser 37 (back 9) Nearest pin: P Stobbart (Ramside) (£20 voucher) Longest drive: J McSkelly (£20 voucher) Members draw 4ball Bishop Auckland – K Cuthbert Visitors draw 4ball South Moor – R Cooper