Golf prodigy keeps it in the family

A PONTELAND golfer who has followed in the family footsteps tasted success at the Inter County Foursomes Championship.

Peter Sym and playing partner Russell Hayhoe, 38, beat five pairs to become the Northumberland winners and then thrashed Durham section victors Darlington 8 and 6 in the 36-hole final at Blyth.

And the 21-year-old, whose dad, Malcolm, was last year’s captain following granddad Trevor Bourn in 1978, made his county debut at the weekend.

The Ponteland Golf Club duo defeated Percy Wood, Seahouses, Arcot Hall, Prudhoe and The Northumberland Golf Club (NGC) based in Gosforth en route to the final – the match against NGC went to the last hole.

And they saved their best performance for the biggest game, as they were six under par for 12 holes in the second round of the final.

Sym said: “We were a bit nervous in the match to decide the Northumberland winners as it came down to who held their nerve as one of the NGC players hit his ball out of bounds on the 18th.

“But against Darlington, we felt a lot better and never missed a fairway as well as being very accurate with our putting.

“We got a good early lead and never gave them a chance to come back. The highlight was definitely getting an eagle to win the match, when I held a 10 to 15 foot putt after a great shot by Russell.

“The combination of youth and experience worked very well and Russell helped me to deal with the pressure. We get along well too and that’s important when you play foursomes (hitting alternate shots with the same ball).”

Both men will be part of the Ponteland squad that will be looking to build on an impressive second-placed finish in last year’s Newcastle and District League.

Sym will soon complete a degree in economics at Newcastle University – he was captain of its golf section this year. He is hoping to make further progress in his game over the summer.

“I’m aiming to get my handicap down to scratch and below, finish high up the leaderboard in as many events as possible and make more appearances for Northumberland,” he said.

“The Ponteland team is one of the strongest we’ve ever had on paper and it would be great to go one better in the Newcastle and District League this year.”

He added: “It was an honour to be the Newcastle University golf captain this year and being part of the team has improved me as a golfer, due to playing competitive golf all winter.”