In-form golfers shine for Dyke House

DYKE HOUSE Academy’s team of golfers has been crowned the best in County Durham – and will now head to the national finals.


DYKE HOUSE Academy’s team of golfers has been crowned the best in County Durham – and will now head to the national finals.

Sixth Form student Will Skipp won the overall Under-18s title at the prestigious Durham County Schools’ Championships at Beamish Park on Monday.

Year 9 students Jack Burton and Louis Westmoreland, who both won individual honours to contribute to the team’s success, backed him up superbly.

Burton was crowned the Under-16s champion as well as finishing second to Skipp in the older category. Westmoreland claimed the title for the best gross for handicaps 13-20.

All combined was enough for them to seal the overall Schools’ title for Dyke House and they will head to Woodhall Spa on July 10 for the National Schools’ Team Championships.

Skipp’s 75 was enough to win the competition for the second time even though he was not particularly happy with his performance.

The 17-year-old, who is the Durham County Boys' captain, said: “I didn’t play to the level I can but I still managed to win so I have to be pleased.

“Every time I have played that course I have never lost. I won under the Under-16s title three times, now the Under-18s twice - and won the county Under-14s too.

“It is the first time we have ever done what we have as a school at this event, we won everything. I would love to be able to try to win the nationals.”

Skipp hopes success this year will lead to an appearance for England against Scotland Boys and Wales later this year.

Burton, despite being three years younger, was only a shot shy of Skipp to claim the overall best net score 69, as well as his Under-16s crown with a 76 at Beamish.

Burton, who plays out of Wynyard, said: “I was hitting it and putting well, striking my shots well. I gave myself birdie chances and birdied 8, 16 and 18. The 18th was my favourite, holing a 20ft putt. I just want to keep on going and improving.”

Burton and Westmoreland are both cutting their handicaps with their performances already this year.

Westmoreland, from Seaton Carew, said: “My best hole was the 11th, I got birdie there. I hit an eight-iron to within four foot. I feel like I am getting better, I have my targets in mind and want to play more and try to succeed. I just want to do the best I possibly can.”

The three golfers are being helped along by European Tour star Graeme Storm, who is a golf consultant at Dyke House.

Storm, how works with them along with Wynyard’s James Harper for Dyke House, said: “It’s a major achievement for the boys to win the team championship together. There has been a dramatic upturn in them all following the work they have done over the winter.

“The boys have reacted well. Will Skipp attending Sixth Form has been a big plus for these younger boys because they are getting to play with one of the best county players and learn from him.

“James Harper has worked with them for the numbers they hit. They work at a world-class facility at Wynyard and they also work with their own respective coaches.

“Jack is changing to James, Louis works with Cliffy Jackson at Seaton and Will works with Andrew Betts, a PGA pro at Wynyard, and all the work is paying off.”