A beautiful sweeping par-5, which falls from the tee to the fairway and rises once again to the green, greeted competitors at the penultimate Volkswagen Masters Regional Final of 2008. The first hole at Hexham Golf Club in Northumberland is a fantastic opener with out of bounds to the left which comes more into play the further you hit your tee shot. If you do take on the out of bounds, and hit a good drive, you are rewarded with a great eagle opportunity. From then on the layout constantly changes direction and elevation with a different challenge on every hole. The start of the back nine is particularly memorable. The 9th is a great looking hole that requires both an accurate tee shot and approach to an elevated green. The 10th is a particularly memorable par 3 thanks to a tee shot played towards a mature oak which protects the right hand side of the green.
Competitors looking for a place in the UK Final were treated to a great setting and a morning of sunshine. The superb conditions helped to produced impressive scoring with all three winners scoring well below par to secure their spot.
Group A was won by Slaley Hall member Jeff Lightle who finished with a round of nett 67 playing of a handicap of 7.
I was level par front nine then dropped four shots on the way back but I was happy with the way I played, said Jeff.
Craig Wright of Bellingham and Dunstanburgh member Martin Carss both finished with impressive rounds of 68 with Wright taking second place on count-back.
Group B was won with the score of the day, a nett 66. David Murray used eight years of experience at Hexham to produce the fantastic score off a 10 handicapp.
I birdied the first which is always a bonus at Hexham and played well from there, said David.
Stephen Barnes of Keswick finished four shots behind to take second place and 18 handicapper John Richardson finished one shot further back.
Another excellent score was produced in Group C, this time by Steve Lowther of Blyth Golf Club. The 19 handicapper managed 39 points off a handicap of 19 to secure his place at Turnberry. Fellow Blyth member Fenwick Henson finished second with 37 stableford points.