All golfing eyes might be on The Open at St Andrews this week. But it is just possible that Open champions of the future might be living right here in Gainsborough!
For one of the town’s schools, Parish Church Primary, were crowned tri-golf county champions at the Sainsbury’s Lincolnshire School Games Summer Festival, held in Grantham.
Representing the Cherry Willingham Schools’ Sports Partnership, the year-three team had qualified for the final stages of the Games after an exceptional win at the district event, staged at Carholme Golf Club in Lincoln in May.
But they exceeded even that when completing a full day of competition with a score of more than 1.100 points that eased them to victory over seven other district champions, including The Wolds and Coastal.
The festival started with more than 1,000 young athletes from primary and secondary schools, plus organisers and sports leaders, entering the stadium, carrying their school flag and dressed in coloured T-shirts to give a real Olympic feel to the opening ceremony.
At the front of the line was Parish pupil Lewis Hearn, while Parish teacher and tri-golf coach John Anderson and pupil Brandon Smith were each chosen to read out one of the event’s six pledges of self-belief, honesty, passion, respect, teamwork and determination. Brandon said: “I read out determination, which was a great honour in front of so many people.”
Tri-golf is a mini version of the sport, played by under-11s. Each team comprised five girls and five boys who had a go at eight scoring events, such as The Grand National, Drive For Show and Putt Dough, using modified golf equipment, cones and targets.
After receiving their trophy from England hockey goalkeeper Kirsty Mackay, Parish celebrated with great enthusiasm. One of the players, Joshua Jones, said: “We kept encouraging each other. Being county champions is amazing.” Mr Anderson added: “Their golf was a joy to watch. They really worked as a team, and pitched and putted like Rory McIlroy!”
Parish’s success follows another county championship they achieved in swimming in March at years three and four.