Second county crown well worth wait for history-making Consett GC veteran
Co DURHAM: Tuesday May 25th
A quarter of a century after winning his first Durham Matchplay Championship, 52-year-old John Kennedy claimed his second thanks to a superlative performance at Heworth GC.
The Consett GC player was bogey free as he beat Andrew McCarrick (South Shields) in a high-quality final and he is believed to be the competititon’s oldest ever winner.
John, who previously had his hands on the winners trophy back in 1996 at Ryton and was also runner-up again four years later at Wearside, was indebted to a fitting session with well-known North East-based pro Mark Ridley for transforming his driving and putting.
“About four weeks ago I met up with Mark and he suggested having a putter fitting,” said John. “You never think about people having a putter fitting and he realised I needed a face-balanced putter and gave me a Scotty Cameron.
“He then tested me with my old driver and suggested I try the new Sim 2 (TaylorMade). I hit 15 shots with my old club and my first drive with the Sim 2 went 22 yards further than any of the previous 15.”
The new driver helped John get closer off the tee with the big-hitting McCarrick in the final and in the fact the stretch of long holes (11, 12, 13) were all won by the Consett golfer, which put him two up.
The South Shields player responded with birdies at 14 and 16 to level the contest and with both finalists parring in they went back to the first but not before John kept the game alive with an outstanding up and down from 30 yards at the long par three 18th.
The opening hole, a short par four, was into a strong wind and the veteran stuck his approach to four feet. McCarrick could only find sand with his second and could not get up and down so conceded the putt and title to his county colleague.
John putted superbly throughtout all six rounds and did not miss anything shorter than six feet and it certainly got hot just at the right time in the opening round. Facing Heworth club captain Jason McGuire, he was two down after 12 but birdied three of the next four to turn the tie around.
The event attracted a modern-day record entry of 96, with the ballot coming in at 1.2. The County Durham Strokeplay event takes place at Durham City (July 9-11).