TOM Rowland has already marked himself out as a player to watch. The Prudhoe golfer’s latest exploit is to become the third Northumberland player in a row to win the St Andrews Boys’ Open.
Nicky Maddison lifted the title in 2008 and Richard Robson-Crosby brought it back to the North East last year, while at 17 Rowland has the chance to become the first player to retain the trophy for a quarter of a century.
Rowland won the scratch event with a three under par 67 and then went on to beat Aberdeenshire’s Calum Hill 4 and 3 in the matchplay final for the Merchant Cup and looks a player of rare promise.
When he was 16, he improved his handicap from four to scratch in five months, finished fourth in The Journal Champion of Champions and won the Northumberland Under-21 stroke play championship. This year, still eligible for the Northumberland Under-18 Championship, he won it by eight shots.
Rowland shot rounds of 70 and 69 in blustery conditions to win the title from City of Newcastle’s Jack Hermeston, who at least had the consolation of winning the Under 16 title with rounds of 74 and 73.
Club and county team mate Andy Scrimshaw shot two 74s to finish third. Both players made a major contribution to Northumberland’s Northern Counties victory over Lancashire when Rowland also gained his county colours.
City youngster Hermeston continued his good form when he finished runner-up in the English Boys’ Under-14 Championship at Hesketh.
He finished three shots behind Neil Bradley from Blairgowrie, who has won the Scottish Boys’ Championship twice.
Hermeston pushed Bradley all the way with a closing 72 as Bradley held his nerve with a closing 75 for 218.