SHEFFIELDER Joe Dean’s first assignment as English champion is to spearhead Yorkshire’s challenge in the Northern Counties’ ‘Big Six’ event on the Isle of Man on Wednesday.
Lindrick GC’s Dean took over the mantle from Huddersfield GC’s Nick Marsh at Alwoodley GC on Saturday and hopes his game will prove just as sharp in today’s 36-hole contest in which scores from all six members count.
His driving improved out of all recognition last week after he took his coach Graham Walker’s advice to go and have fun out on the course rather than torture himself on the range.
And his short game was at its sharpest, with the 21-year-old using to great effect the 10-point system instilled in him by Walker.
“It is quite a big philosophy that Graham works on with pitching,” he explained. “I have 10 different positions with my pitching swing with each wedge in my bag that relates to the length of the swing back.
“It’s a bit like the clock-face system some people use.
“My distance control was great at Alwoodley, as was my pitching and putting.”
Dean changed putters halfway through the championship although it was mainly a cosmetic change.
“It is a very similar sort of set up to the one I was using, but my old one was getting a bit tired so I put a new one in the bag,” he said.
Joining him in Yorkshire’s squad from which the six-man line-up will be finalised are Dan Wasteney (Bondhay), Will Whiteoak (Shipley), Steve Robins (Hull), Ben Brewster (Wheatley) plus two youngsters along for some experience – Kealan Lowe (also Wheatley) and Alex Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire).
They will take on Cheshire, Durham, Lancashire, Cumbria, Northumberland and the hosts, the Isle of Man at Mount Murray with the winners going through to the England County Championship in September as Northern Counties’ representatives.
Yorkshire have won the ‘Big Six’ on 27 occasions since its creation in 1955.
Dean’s predecessor as English champion Marsh is in Slovakia with three other Yorkshire players – Walker Cup hopeful Dan Brown (Bedale), English Amateur championship semi-finalist Jamie Bower, of Meltham, and Lindrick’s Jonathan Thomson, contesting the European Championship.