Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harrison Proving Quite an Influence

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harrison Proving Quite an Influence

Article excerpt

EVERYTHING John Harrison touches seems to turn to gold these days, as Nicky Maddison, the new Northumberland champion, will testify.

The headlines being made on Sunday were dominated by Harrison's latest high finish on the European Senior Tour, at Slaley Hall, and by one of the players he coaches, Kenneth Ferrie, shooting up the rankings on the European Tour in Germany. Down the road at Westerhope the day before, Maddison, also coached by Harrison, won an epic final of the county event against a long-standing rival in Slaley's Kris Gray. Maddison and Gray had gone head to head on four previous occasions in the Newcastle and District League and the Hadrian League, winning twice each and with every contest going to the last hole.

This time it was over 36 holes, and still they needed every one of them. It was all square after 18, then Gray was three up after 24, with Maddison bouncing straight back to win three holes in a row. From then on they halved every hole except, crucially, the 32nd where Maddison birdied a par five with the help of a downhill and downwind drive of 290 yards and a seven iron to two feet.

Part of Maddison's victory recipe was cooked up on the driving range at Matfen Hall's academy two days before the knock-stages of the tournament started on Wednesday.

"I spent about three hours working on my game with John Harrison having a session with me and then popping over to do bits of fine tuning in between him giving lessons," said Maddison.

"Basically he shallowed out my swing which had been getting a bit too steep and I do not think I would have beaten Kris if John had not put that right.

"Obviously, he is a top coach but it is not just that. John is easy to talk to in that he explains everything in a way you can easily understand.

"He is easy to get on with and always as helpful as possible, that's why so many good players go to him for lessons.

"I owe a big thank-you to the three caddies from among the other members at the City club who were on my bag during the tournament, Howard Worley, Graeme Coulson and Phil Ridden, for the final. …

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