Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ridden Bursts onto Green Jacket Scene; Winner Jones Says Pairing Partner Is One to Watch in Title Chase

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ridden Bursts onto Green Jacket Scene; Winner Jones Says Pairing Partner Is One to Watch in Title Chase

Article excerpt

CITY of Newcastle's Phil Ridden burst into contention for the Green Jacket series by moving straight to the No 8 spot in his first ZFL Golf Order of Merit tournament at Seaton Carew, writes TIM TAYLOR.

Last season's Player of the Year in the Newcastle and District League, Ridden missed the opening event at Cleveland because he was on county duty, but he quickly started making up for lost time.

The Seaton Salver was played in conditions made so demanding by high winds, none of the elite field returned a two-round total equalling par.

The winner, Jonas Jones, from the Saltburn club, scored 73 74 for a one-over 147 and you would think he would be the one in the zone following a triumph in another 36-hole scratch open the week before, the York Rose Bowl.

But Jones was more impressed with Ridden who came fourth, two shots behind, than he was with his own game. He said: "I was paired with Phil and he has got to be one to watch in terms of winning the Order of Merit. Okay, I won this one, but he totally outplayed me tee to green in very difficult conditions.

"He is one heck of a good golfer and a beautiful striker of the ball. He was a joy to play with and I enjoyed watching him. The only reason I won and he didn't was because a lot more of my putts dropped than his and my caddy kept me calm when I had a blip coming down the stretch." Last year Jones was a member of the Saltburn side which won the Dixon Cup, the supercup-style matchplay club contest for the winners of the Newcastle & District League, the North Durham Union, the Hadrian League, the North Northumberland League and the Teesside Union.

Joint runners-up at Seaton Carew were Durham City's Graham Marchbank and Callum Tarren, from Dinsdale Spa. Brancepeth Castle's Michael Curry landed a top- 10 finish and, having won the first tournament, he tops the North East's amateur Order of Merit table. It is the first one to be published for 10 years, the series having been brought back this season thanks to the sponsorship of ZFL Golf, the custom-fit club makers based in Benton, Newcastle.

The Green Jacket has been donated by John McLean, the senior event co-ordinator of Touchline Event Management Ltd, the Gateshead-based stewarding and crowd management company, who will present the jacket to the winner. …

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