It’s Holmes at the double for Lancs champ

 

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GREG Holmes secured a dramatic and historic victory to become Lancashire County Boys’ champion for the second successive year.

The 17-year-old Royal Birkdale player, pictured receiving the trophy from Lancashire UGC president Michael Lay, is the first to lift the title in back-to-back seasons for 23 years.

He followed up an opening 72 in the morning over a tricky and well-presented challenge at Crompton and Royton to go two shots better in the second round and secure a narrow one-stroke success with a combined total of two over par 142.

But the result was in the balance until the closing two holes after the only players to break par in the morning round – Josh Fallows, also from Royal Birkdale, and Louis Talarcyzk (Royal Lytham & St Annes) – had thrown down the gauntlet.

Both found it difficult to build on the 69s they returned in the first round, with Fallows adding a 75 to finish in third overall with a 144 total.

But Talarcyzk was in contention up until the penultimate hole, when his second to the 17th found out of bounds at the rear of the green and Holmes suddenly had a two-shot advantage going down the last.

Talarcyzk showed great character to drill in a 15 feet putt for birdie on the 18th to close with a 74 and a total of 143, which saw him finish runner-up.

Holmes, who has established himself in the Lancashire men’s team over the past 12 months, went into the event in good form, having finished in fifth at the Fairhaven Trophy.

But he felt he could have played better, commenting: “I did not hit my irons as well as I would like but I felt my putting was good.”

And none more so than on that crucial 17th hole, where he drained a seven feet par putt to make sure he took advantage of his closest rival’s late stumble.

“This was one of the events I had targeted for the season, but it has been a tough six months,” added Holmes, who dedicated his victory to his late mother Sue.

Holmes – who is also a member of his hometown club, Wigan – joins the list of multi-winners of the title.

ID Gradewell finished as champion for three successive seasons from 1968-70 while M Tomlinson was also a three-time winner in 1976, 1978 and 1980. Double winners include P Robinson in 1981 and ’83, S Andrew 1991/92, S Whitehead 1994/95, Matthew Baldwin, now a European Tour player, in 2000 and 2002 and, most recently, Oliver Clarke in 2014 and 2016.

Royal Lytham, represented by Louis Talarcyzk and Jamie van Wyk , will represent Lancashire at the English finals at Frilford Heath GC in August.

RESULTS: Championship Plate: Greg Holmes (Royal Birkdale, 72-70-142); Runner-up: Louis Talarcyzk (Royal Lytham & St Annes, 69-74-143); Third place: Josh Fallows (Southport and Birkdale, 69-75-144; Best nett total: Elliott Tickle (Blackley, 69-66-135); Best morning nett: Thomas Watson (Dean Wood, 69); Best afternoon nett: Jack McPhail (Huyton and Prescot, 69); Best morning gross: Grady Rogerson (Royal Lytham & St Annes, 69); Best afternoon gross: Jamie van Wyk (Royal Lytham & St Annes, 72); Champion club: Royal Lytham & St Annes (Louis Talarcyzk, Jamie van Wyk)

 

 

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