Golf:O’Neill crowned Golfer of the Year

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O’Neill regained his amateur status in the spring and competed in all the main Jersey amateur events throughout the year.

He qualified for the last 16 of the Island Championship, finished second in the NatWest 72-hole Strokeplay and went on to win the JW Messervy Trophy and the Royal Jersey Club Championship.

He also finished second in the PBS Merit Table and reduced his handicap to plus 1.

He starred in the inter-insular against Guernsey, scoring two-and-a-half points out of three, playing excellent golf throughout the weekend.O’Neill said: ‘I’m pleased, it’s a surprise and it’s been a fairly good year.

I really came to form in September when I won the Messervy 36-hole Open competition and the Club championship at Grouville in consecutive weeks.’I’d been putting in a lot of practise and it certainly paid off.

I had a 65 in the Messervy too, that was extremely pleasing.’The 26-year-old former professional, who returned to amateur status this year, is now focusing on winning the Island championship for the first time.’I hope to have another good year in 2004, but it will be difficult because there are some very good golfers around.

It is an excellent competition to play and one I really want to be successful in.’Other candidates for the award included:Paul Le Chevalier for winning the PBS Merit Table and the NatWest 72-hole Strokeplay and keeping his handicap at plus 2.Geoff Ramskill for winning the Jersey Senior Championship and then beating Roy Corbet in Guernsey to win the inaugural inter-island Seniors Championship.

He also reduced his handicap to 2.7.

Jersey juniors had an excellent year with many teenagers performing well; Alex Guelpa won the Junior Matchplay Championship, the Junior Player of the Year award and reduced his handicap to three; Seb Brown had an excellent year and reduced his handicap from 22 to seven; Olivia Higgins reduced her handicap to 11 and qualified for the Weetabix national event.Richard Alker reduced his handicap to plus one and set a new course record of 65 at La Moye.O’Neill wins a magnum of champagne and four engraved crystal glasses.The judging panel were Mike Weaver, President of the Jersey Golf Union, Barbara Hewitt, President of the Ladies Jersey Golf Union, Bruce Ridley, Deputy Managing Director at Itex, Murray Dron and Rob Leader, secretary of the Jersey Golf Union.

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