Archive for May 16th, 2017

Houston has lift off for third Leeds Cup

GARRY Houston is on course to win the Leeds Cup for the third time in five years after taking a two stroke lead with a four-under-par 65 in the first of two rounds at Cobble Hall where professional golf’s oldest trophy was first played for in 1902.Garry HoustonGettyImages-545176254.jpg

The Carden Park attached Welshman, who prevailed in 2012 and 2015, defied the testing conditions of wind and rain to rack up five birdies, erring only once with a bogey at the 10th.

“I’d not seen the course until the pro-am and I did not play particularly great early on but I stayed patient and made a few decent up and downs on some tricky greens,” he said. “It’s not a massively long course but it was imperative to hit the ball in the right places.”

Houston (picture courtesy Getty Images), who turned 46 last week and who won the World Pro-Am in February, has a posse of Yorkshiremen hot on his heels led by Renishaw Park’s Michael Ramsden and John Wells, from Snainton Golf Centre in the 36-hole tournament run in association with Ramsdens Currency.

Phil Archer, the former European Tour winner from Cheshire club Birchwood who is defending the title he won last year and also prevailed in 2000, has a lot of ground to make up after his 71 left him in a 15-way tie for 20th place.

LEADING SCORES: 65 Garry Houston (Carden Park); 67 Michael Ramsden (Renishaw Park), John Wells (Snainton Golf Centre), Jamie Howarth (Davenport), Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham), Martin Hamer (Davyhulme Park); 68 Robert Booth (Crosland Heath), James French (Owston Hall); 69 Darren Crowle (Crook), Daniel Bradbury (Bolton Old Links), David Smith (Swinton Park), Graham Neville (GN Golf), Simon Westney (unatt), Steve Parry (NWGA Hart Common).

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It’s elementary for Lancs boys’ champ Holmes

GREG Holmes is the new Lancashire County boys’ champion after a commanding performance in tricky conditions at Nelson Golf Club. The 16-year-old, who plays out of Royal Birkdale, was the only competitor in the field to break par in both rounds.

Greg Holmes.jpgHe followed up a 69 over the opening 18 holes in the morning – one under par – to go one shot better and secure a six-shot success with a combined total of three-under-par 137.

Runner-up was Grady Rogerson (Royal Lytham & St Annes), the only other player under par in the morning with a matching 69. But the 2016 Lancashire Under-16s champion was unable to keep the pressure up on Holmes in the afternoon as he mustered a 74 to finish on 143 for the championships, organised by the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs.

A testing breeze made scoring conditions awkward on a bright day but after Holmes and Rogerson traded scores at the halfway point, it was Holmes (pictured) who made the break after lunch with birdies at three of the first four holes.

However his round wobbled round the turn as he stumbled to bogeys at nine, ten and eleven.

But the teenager rallied superbly over the closing holes, a neat up and down on the par five 15th bringing him a tension-easing birdie. He needed an even better recovery on the par three next to escape with a par from wide of the green.

He capped his success with a grandstand finish, pitching to six inches at the 18th for a tap-in birdie and the title.

“This was one of the events I had targeted for this year,” said the plus one player, a regular in the Lancashire Boys’ team, who played in a pre-season friendly for the full county team, “so it is nice to win it. The wind did make things tricky. After making such a good start in the afternoon, I think I relaxed a little too much so I was pleased to play solidly coming in.”

Holmes won both the men’s scratch competitions last year, at the age of 15, at Royal Birkdale and his hometown club Wigan, where he is still a member.

Next target is his GCSE exams before he turns his attentions to golf once more and a date at Open qualifying at Fairhaven as he continues to widen his golfing education.

Rossendale successfully defended their title as Champion Club through Harry Lord and Alex James and will represent Lancashire at the English finals at Woodhall Spa GC, headquarters of England Golf.

A strong field also included what organisers believe is a first – with three brothers taking part. The Holland brothers are from Mawdesley and play out of Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club. James, 17, plays off one as does 15-year-old George, with both featuring in the Lancashire Boys’ squads, while Charlie is 13 and has a handicap of just nine and is a member of the Lancashire U14s squad. Waiting in the wings are younger brothers Harry, 10, and Jude, 7.

RESULTS

Championship Plate: Greg Holmes (Royal Birkdale, 69-68-137)

Runner-up: Grady Rogerson (Royal Lytham & St Annes, 69-74-143)

Third place: Oliver Ravenscroft (Hillside, 73-73-146)

Best nett total: James Nash (Ormskirk, 68-69-137)

Best morning nett: Alex James (Rossendale, 73-5-68)

Best afternoon nett: Oliver Duck (Southport and Ainsdale, 73-5-68)

Best morning gross: Harry Lord (Rossendale, 71)

Best afternoon gross: Luke Bartram (Rossendale, 72)

Champion club: Rossendale (Harry Lord, Alex James)

FIXTURES: May 24 Collinge Trophy (Accrington); May 30 Lancashire Seniors v Staffordshire Seniors (The Chase); June 2-4 Lancashire County Championship (Lancaster); June 7 Bell Trophy (Rochdale); June 11 Lancashire v Cumbria (Ashton-in-Makerfield); June 12-13 Lancashire Seniors’ Championship  (Lytham Green Drive)