Wearside Golf Club stage the Durham County Championship for the fourth time this weekend.
And Wearside’s Richard Walker, champion in 1990 and 1993, goes into the prestigious event in fine fettle, having posted the second best score in qualifying at Hartlepool last week.
Walker carded a 72, only bettered by Boldon’s Andrew McCormick (71), with 2011 champion Martin McCririck (South Shields) sixth on 73.
Walker tees off his first round at 9.38am tomorrow, playing alongside Seaham’s 2007 champion, David Patterson, and Hartlepool’s Jack Ainscough.
Defending champion Richard Aisbitt (Brancepeth Castle) tees off at 9.06, playing alongside McCririck and Seaton Carew’s Lloyd Bond. Aisbitt has won the tournament three times, in 2003, 2014 and 2015.
Boldon’s Rhys Thompson, who won the Durham County Match Play title at Wearside last year, tees off at 9.54.
Wearside’s previous stagings of the County Championship were in 1962, when Seaham’s Jack Sanderson won (284 shots, in 1977, when Wearside’s John Naisby triumphed on his home course (288), and 1992, when Whickham’s Tony McLure was the victor (284).
The first two rounds are staged tomorrow, with the third and fourth rounds completing the championship on Sunday.
The first trio, including Durham City’s Andrew Bell, head off at 7.30am tomorrow.
Wearside have Daniel Hair, David Vest, Stuart Nixon, David Johnson and Walker competing, while John Ellison, Jeff Willey and S. Foster represent Houghton, Seaham field Craig Walton and Patterson and George Washington’s hopes rely on Asron Scott and John Scott.