GOLF: Peacock is Milton's first county champ in 30 years

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MATT Peacock overcame a nightmare start to become the first Milton golfer to lift the Northants County Championship in 30 years.

MATT Peacock overcame a nightmare start to become the first Milton golfer to lift the Northants County Championship in 30 years. MATT Peacock overcame a nightmare start to become the first Milton golfer to lift the Northants County Championship in 30 years.

He emulated the achievements of Bob Gray in 1972 despite having found himself four-down after six holes.

He shot two rounds of 71 at Kettering for a 142 aggregate to land the title by just one stroke from team-mate Neil Presto (72,71).

Peacock, a sports studies and psychology student at the University College of Northampton, said: "I am delighted to be county champion, but I must admit I was not expecting it.

"My form has not been that good coming into the championship and, while I have always thought I might win it some day, I did not think it would happen this time.

"I played steady all day although I am still not sure where the form came from, but that is golf for you, no two days are the same."

A birdie at the seventh helped calm Peacock down and, despite another bogey at 10 in his first round, he was able to drop birdies at 15 and 17 to card a two-over-par 71.

His second round followed a similar pattern, reaching the turn at three over and returning home in one-under courtesy of a birdie at the 13.

But it could have slipped away again for Peacock at the 16th after his approach shot at the long par four went through the green.

Peacock played a magnificent chipped shot to within inches of the hole which ensured he saved par and went on to become the new county champion.

"I think that was the big shot of the championship for me," added Peacock. "I think that is the one which clinched it."

Presto was also pleased with his second spot, though feels it might have been him who broke Milton's duck if it was not for a wayward shot in the opening round.

He said: "I did not miss anything from six-feet and had no three-putts all day. My out-of-bounds at the ninth hole in the morning proved to be costly at the finish."

Peacock and Presto's efforts along with Ian Symonds (72-75-147) meant that Milton also picked up the champion club trophy.

Presto and Peacock have both been selected to represent Northants in the English Golf Union Midlands Championship at Kings Norton on Saturday.