Open auction a champion idea

GOLF fans will have a unique opportunity to support the growth and development of the sport around the world following the launch of a series of exclusive Champion Golfer memorabilia collections.

The Open Auction, a first for the UK Golf Market, features limited edition memorabilia from golf’s original championship and will enable fans to submit bids online for items which have been specially created for the auction website. 

Inspired by Francesco Molinari’s historic win at The 147th Open at Carnoustie this year, the ‘Molinari Collection’ will be the first range of collectables to be launched on the new platform and will include signed limited edition items which commemorate the Italian’s first ever victory in a major championship.

Further planned collections will mark the world-renowned achievements of several Champion Golfers, including Open Ambassador and five-time winner Tom Watson and Tiger Woods, who has won The Open on three occasions, and fans will also be able to bid for these coveted items.

The 2018 Champion Golfer of the Year Francesco Molinari said, “Lifting the famous Claret Jug was a moment that I had always dreamed about as a young golfer and it is now written into the esteemed history of this prestigious Championship.

“It was thrilling to celebrate my victory with the tens of thousands of spectators who created such a memorable atmosphere at Carnoustie and I am pleased to be able to provide a selection of special mementos from that unforgettable week which will contribute to the future of the sport.”

All net proceeds from The Open Auction will be used to fund The R&A’s activities in golf development, governance of the sport and staging of world class amateur events as part of its commitment to invest £200m over the next ten years to grow and develop the sport around the world.

This includes initiatives to increase participation in golf by people of all ages and abilities, including women, juniors and families, and investment in playing facilities and equipment, coaching programmes, golf events and projects to promote the health benefits of the sport.  

Angela Howe, Director of the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, which boasts the largest collection of golf memorabilia in Europe, added, “The Open has produced so many compelling stories and memorable moments throughout its cherished history and the launch of the new player collections will provide golf fans with a fantastic opportunity to own their own piece of Championship history as well as supporting the growth and development of golf worldwide.”

The Open Auction will be supported by Pursuit 3 Group who were also the official auction partner of the Winter Olympics in 2010, the Olympics in London 2012 and Rio 2016, the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

Bids can be submitted online by visiting The Open Auction



No joy for Lancashire in Belfry showdown

LANCASHIRE gave it their best shot but Essex made a successful defence of the PGA in England and Wales Inter-County Championship at The Belfry to become the first team to win the tournament twice.

In doing so, they relied on the same line up of Jason Levermore, Brett Taylor and James Scade to claim the trophy and £4,000 first prize.

And the stage for their victory, the PGA National course at the four time Ryder Cup venue, was also the same.

The manner of their triumph, however, was at odds with the way the tournament reached its conclusion 12 months ago.

There was no need for a tension-laden play-off this time as the seven-shot advantage Essex established in the first of the two rounds proved decisive.

The tournament was theirs to lose and although Nottinghamshire and Surrey both posted better scores in the second round than the winners-elect, retrieving the deficit proved beyond them.

With the best two scores from each trio counting, Nottinghamshire, inspired by another sub-par round from Lee Clarke posted a two-under-par total to finish on one-over for the tournament. That was matched by Surrey who were level par at the start of the day.

The Essex response of three-over-par was in sharp contrast with the high-octane golf they produced in the first round.

Once again Levermore was their main man. His round of level par took his score for the tournament to five-under and, in tandem with Clarke, its best performing individual.

Meanwhile, Taylor executed the shot of the tournament – a hole-in-one at the par three 11th.

Despatched by a seven-iron, the ball bounced once before landing in the hole for the 16th  ace of Taylor’s career.

SCORES: Essex -4; Nottinghamshire, Surrey +1; Devon +4; Lancashire +14


Reddish Vale claim Hancock Trophy


TROPHY GLITTER: Dave Sanders and Julia Ann Addinell are presented with the Hancock Trophy by Manchester Alliance president John Dowd

BRAMALL Park seasoned European Tour professional Oliver Whiteley clocked up 38 points to claim the individual prize in the Manchester Alliance Hancock Trophy mixed pairs competition at Sale.

He was three points ahead of  Stamford’s Mark Smith and also finished top of the pro-am section with playing partner Michelle Pretty with 40 points.

Reddish Vale manager Dave Sanders and Julia Ann Addinall also posted 40 points in the am-am section ahead of Chorley duo Denis and Sam Durnian  who won on a 37 points countback from Swinton Park’s Jimmy O’Reilly and Fran Jewkes.

Reddish Vale took the trophy back to their club for the first time in more than 40 years.



Lancs champs after surviving great escape


JUST CHAMPION! Lancashire players celebrate their victory at Stanton-on-the-Wolds. Image copyright Leaderboard Photography

LANCASHIRE pulled off the great escape today when they snatched victory from Sussex in the title showdown for the English Senior Men’s County Championship.

Bryan Hughes drained a 30ft putt on the 18th at Stanton-on-the-Wolds to win his match by one hole and give Lancashire their third win in this championship.

“It was the putt of my life,” said the 2017 British Senor Champion. “And it was the first one I holed today!”

Lancashire’s 5-4 win was a result which had seemed highly unlikely as little as 45 minutes earlier and underlined, once again, the team’s ability to dig deep when it counts. “You couldn’t write this script,” said team member Neil Self, who contributed a 5/4 win to the scoreline.

Tony Flanagan, who won 3/2 in the singles, added: “I don’t know how we did that. We’ve been behind every day.”

That’s been the theme of their championship. Each day they’ve trailed their opposition, each day they’ve frayed their captain’s nerves – but each day they’ve kept themselves in it and, finally, claimed the prize.

Their  captain Mike Gray said: “I have always believed in them but at times today I thought someone up there didn’t!

“When they have to, they dig in, they deliver. They play for the team and they just don’t give up. And winning this is just a wonderful feeling,” added Gray, who was making his seventh visit to county finals, five as a player and twice as a winning captain.

Today’s match was always going to be tight. Sussex, with two good wins behind them, were clearly in good and confident form. And the action unfolded as predicted. The foursomes were shared with two tense matches going to the 18th.

As the singles got under way Sussex appeared to have a real grip on the match. They were ahead in four games as the players went through six holes and up in five at the half way stage.

Lancashire got the first point, courtesy of Neil Self, but Martin King delivered a major boost for Sussex when he beat British Senior champion Trevor Foster 3/2. “I just played great match play golf. I was in trouble a few times on the back nine and Trevor probably thought he would get one back but I escaped,” he said.

The next point went Lancashire’s way, thanks to Tony Flanagan, but Sussex were up in the other three games on the course. It was the signal for the Lancashire rally to begin.

Ian Crowther brought them within touching distance of an unlikely victory when he came from behind to win the last hole to halve his game. Then Bryan Hughes completed the comeback with his last hole birdie. It was the only time he was up in his match – but it was enough!

In the final game on the course Tony Flanagan kept fighting and took the action to the 18th, but Martin Galway made sure the point went to Sussex, who are runners-up for the second year in succession.

In the day’s other match Dorset defeated the host county, Nottinghamshire 6.5-2.5 to take third place.

Click here .



Lancs and Sussex battle for honours


All smiles at the end of the game – Lancashire’s Bryan Hughes (right) and Nottinghamshire’s Ian Gretton. Image copyright Leaderboard Photography

SUSSEX and Lancashire took the honours on the opening day of the English Senior Men’s County Finals – in sharply contrasting matches in glorious autumn sunshine at Stanton-on-the-Wolds Golf Club, Nottinghamshire.

Sussex scythed through their opposition, conceding virtually nothing as they defeated Dorset 8.5-0.5. Lancashire, however, were thoroughly tested before they could celebrate a hard fought 5-4 victory over the host county, Nottinghamshire.

Sussex were the 2017 runners-up in this championship – and still count the cost of a narrow first day defeat which left them just too much to do. What a difference a year makes!

Twelve months ago they were slow to get started and gleaned only half a point in the singles. Today they shot off the blocks, winning all three foursomes by very convincing margins. Martin King and Mark Logan led the way with their 6/5 win and they were followed by the pairings of Steve Graham and Martin Galway and Colin Jones and Doug Park, who both won 4/3.

They carried the momentum into the afternoon singles, simply sweeping aside the opposition. Anchorman Malcolm Cawte beat par as he cruised to his 5/4 win, while Steve Graham (3/2) and Doug Park (4/3) were solid at the top of the order.

With the win safely in the bag the team then pushed on to acquire as many game points as possible and, in an impressive singles performance, conceded just a half to Dorset’s John Smith.

Team captain Rick Thomas welcomed the result, but sounded a note of caution. “It’s never easy and often when you see a result like this it belies what actually goes on. There’s always a stage in every match where it could go either way.”

He added: “There’s a long road to travel and this is just one step in the right direction. The boys are delighted but they all recognise there’s a long way to go.”

By contrast, Lancashire had to fight every step of the way against Nottinghamshire and the battling theme of the day became clear in the foursomes.

Nottinghamshire posted the first point, with a comfortable 5/4 win by Ian Gretton and Nigel Furniss. But the other two games were both halved, with Notts hauling Lancashire back in one and vice versa in the other. Advantage Nottinghamshire, 2-1 at lunch.

As the singles got underway the match continued to ebb and flow and, for much of the afternoon, it looked as though the host county would squeeze home as narrow winners.

The first points were shared. Tony Flanagan shot two-under to win 7/6 for Lancashire. Charles Banks, a past winner of the Brabazon Trophy and an honorary member of Stanton-on-the-Wolds, responded with his 5/4 win.

But gradually Lancashire found the edge: British Senior Champion Trevor Foster won 4/3 and was soon followed by Bryan Hughes, the 2017 Senior Champion, who won 3/1 and took Lancashire ahead in the match for the first time.

They needed just one more point for victory and it was delivered by Tony Holt who got up in his game for the first time on the 17th and went on to win the 18th to finish 2up. The final game went Nottinghamshire’s way, also finishing on the 18th.

The Lancashire team is known for its ability to dig deep for winning results. They came through the regional qualifier for this event thanks to an eagle from Ian Crowther and a birdie from Bryan Hughes, both on the last hole.

Team captain Mike Gray commented: “They have put me through the mill every match this season, but every match they have come through. They don’t know the meaning of defeat.”

Today Sussex play Nottinghamshire and Lancashire play Dorset.

Manchester youngsters have final say

allijunbmwwinnersmanc.jpgTOP SHOTS:  Beth Greenhalgh receives the trophy for Manchester from Mike Mason of Williams BMW

MANCHESTER’S young guns called the shots when they won the  BMW Junior Challenge at Lowes Park in  a close encounter decided when Crewe were denied at the death.

Mason Melvin set the ball rolling for the Hopwood Cottage side with a 4&2 win over Josie Cowap but Crewe hit back as Braden Jones overcame Matthew Cuppello by 4&3.

Thomas Walker regained the initiative for Manchester with an impressive  6&5 success  over Alex Peake but George Livesey pulled never-say-die Crewe level again with a 4&3 win against Junior captain and Lancashire girls’ star Beth Greenhalgh.

The outcome was decided after  Manchester’s Max King kept  his nerve to eclipse Jack Malpass  4&2 over to claim the trophy.


Belfry here we come!

Ready for action.jpg

READY FOR ACTION: Ryan O’Neill (left) with Simon Lucas after their success at Pleasington. Colin Maroney is missing from photograph 

PGA North Region Lancashire County earned their passport to this week’s annual inter-county championship at the Belfry when their three-man team qualified after a region shoot-out at their Pleasington headquarters.

Simon Lucas (Garstang), Ryan O’Neill and Colin Maroney (both Penwortham) will travel to the PGA National course for the nation-wide final on October 11.

At stake will be £4,000 for the winning team, £2,400 for second and £1,500 for third.

Regional manager Jonathan Paine said: “We believe we have a strong side really up for the honour.”