Archive for the ‘Lancashire Golf’ Category

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

 

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Lancs champs after surviving great escape

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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.

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Lancs and Sussex battle for honours

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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.

Jack’s the lad at Old Links

JACK Brooks won the Bolton Old Links Trophy, the last of 28 fixtures in the Galvin Green Northern Order of merit series, thanks to a closing round of six-under-par 67.

The Mere plus-three player, who opened with a 73, claimed the honours on countback from Formby’s Anthony Stirling who posted a brace of 70s.

And Brooks also finished runner-up in the merit stakes to Bury’s three-time winner Ciaran Doherty who was 190 points ahead of him.

LEADING SCORES: 140 Jack Brooks (Mere) 73 67, Anthony Stirling (Formby) 70 70; 142 Mark Millhouse (Bolton) 72 70, Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park) 70 72; 143 Neil Self (Stand) 71 72; 144 Steve Bryan (Bolton Old Links) 73 71, Rob Taylor (Bolton Old Links) 71 73, Phil Cooney (Dean Wood) 75 71; 146 Karl Bowker (Bolton Old Links) 74 72, Matt Buckley (Bolton Old Links) 73 73, Chris Lloyd (Bolton) 73 73, Tom Ryder (St Annes Old Links) 69 77.

 FINAL ORDER OF MERIT:

Ciaran Doherty Bury 965
Jack Brooks Mere 775
Graeme Booth Formby Hall 760
Calum Metcalfe Pleasington 630
Ian Kenwright Haydock Park 585
Anthony Harwood Blackburn 510
Curtis Clarkin Nelson 480
Matt Collinge Greenmount 395
Aiden Hoosen Manchester 280
Jake Hibbert Delamere Forest 270
Thomas Kirton Prestbury 250
Oliver Ravenscroft Hillside 230
Steven Capper Royal Liverpool 215
Callum Blinkhorn Leigh 210
William Dodds Styal 210
Jake Benson Beeston Fields 210
Richie Blundell Hillside 205
Joseph Williamson Heswall 190
Jacob Oakley Styal 185
Jack Suttie Denton 180
Chris Nuttall Accrington 175
Benjamin Hallam Wychwood Park 170
Harry Lord Rossendale 170
Michael Bennett Bury 165
Tom Ryder St Annes Old Links 165
Anthony Stirling Formby 165
John Carroll Huyton & Prescot 150
Martin Thomas Royal Liverpool 150
Luke Kelly Ashton-under-Lyne 150
Jonathan Hurst Pleasington 150
Samuel Turner Royal Lytham 150
Luke Burrows Cosby 150
James Horton Childwall 150
Elliott Wakefield Leasowe 150
Sean Comiskey Hesketh 150
Jack Suttie Denton 150
Matthew Nuttall Royal Birkdale 145
Greg Holmes Royal Birkdale 145
Richard Wheatley Bradford 145
Mark Hyde Southport & Ainsdale 135
Mark Duncalf Southport & Ainsdale 135
Lewis George Delamere Forest 135
Tom Winn Morecambe 125
Matthew Kay Manchester 125
Thomas Heaton Australian GC 120
Ryan Nevins Styal 120
Roger Smithies Manchester 115
Chris Chilton Stockport 115
Owen Leigh Pleasington 115
Ben Ewen Wilpshire 110
Gregory Osborne Delamere Forest 105
Jonathan Little Heswall 100
Bryan Hughes Hesketh 100
Greg McIlroy Southport & Ainsdale 100
Liam Jenkinson Ashton & Lea 100
Ben Chamberlain Padeswood & Buckley 100
Lewis Pownell Fairfield 100
Neil Williams Leyland 100
Scott McCrindle Prenton 100
Chris Nicholls Rossendale 100
Lewis Boyle Pleasington 85
Callum Scott Nairn 80
Max Baxendale Swinton Park 80
Stephen Hargreaves Leasowe 75
Joseph Bannan Manchester 75
Graham Strachan Bury 75
Robert Cull Bromborough 75
Sam Burton Prestbury 75
Mark Millhouse Bolton 75
Jack McPhail Huyton & Prescot 65
Andrew Walsh Ashton & Lea 65
Oliver Claireaux Portal 60
Rhys Nevin-Wharton Sandiway 60
Joe Whittaker Deane 60
Jordan Kellett unatt 60
James Bishop Little Aston 60
Mark Whittaker Rossendale 60
Jamie Van Wyk Royal Lytham 60
Matthew Halstead Nelson 60
Thomas Rigby Dean Wood 55
David Peel Stockport 55
Dave Morris Tenby 50
Daniel Creaney Southport & Ainsdale 50
Reece Cranfield Wigan 50
Simon Pay Helsby 50
Chris Lowe Hindley Hall 50
Jack Nicholson Vicars Cross 50
Ollie Tovee Macclesfield 50
Dominic O’Brien Warrington 50
Coby Cartwright Cosby 50
Stephen Liddle Houghwood 50
Neil Self Stand 50
Lewis Johansen Caldy 45
Callum Swift Kings Hill 45
Robert Noon Douglas 45
Mark Jones Clitheroe 45
Mark Kimpton Vicars Cross 45
Richard Fitzgerald Bromborough 45
George Howard Gog Magog 45
Shaun Field Clitheroe 45
Harry Doyle Romiley 45
Jamie Chadwick Stamford 45
Joshua Dye Delamere Forest 45
Steve Bryan Bolton Old Links 45
Jack Cornes Lymm 40
Simon Williams Chester 40
Greg Whitby Chester 40
James Eastham Pleasington 40
Cameron Massie Northenden 40
James Holland Southport & Ainsdale 40
Tom Hogan Childwall 40
Paul Swan Blackburn 40
Daniel Lloyd Wrexham 40
Mathew Delaney Prestbury 40
Rob Taylor Bolton Old Links 40
John Shuttleworth Penwortham 30
Greg Smith Caldy 30
Simon Jones Padeswood & Buckley 30
Thomas Hollingworth Macclesfield 30
Gareth Clark Manchester 30
Phil Sargent Haydock Park 30
George Muscroft Otley 30
James Low Woolton 30
Liam Turner Darwen 30
George Mitchell Congleton 30
Ryan Grimshaw Heysham 30
Gareth Hastie Royal Lytham 30
John Blahuta Clitheroe 30
Phil Cooney Dean Wood 30
Kevin Moore Douglas 25
Daryl Callister Mount Murray 25
Dominic Barnes Caldy 25
Jack Shelley Formby 25
Harry Beavan Crewe 25
Marvin Clarke Kirkby Valley 25
Sham Jagota Eaton 25
James Kempster Bramhall 25
Zachary Hargreaves Accrington 25
Andrew Allen Manchester 25
Andreas Klais Shipley 25
Matthew Payne Bramhall 25
Joe Banks West Lancs 25
Henry Young-Alls Notts 25
Sean Maloret Park 25
Alex Weare Mere 25
James Cassell Rossendale 25
Karl Barker Bolton Old Links 25
Leigh Clayton Fleetwood 20
Tom Harris Castletown 20
Jason Thomas Ashton & Lea 20
Peter Glover Douglas 20
John Balhuta Clitheroe 20
Joseph Murray Huyton & Prescot 20
Fergus Robinson Northants 20
Oliver Duck Southport & Ainsdale 20
Joshua Ashton Southport & Ainsdale 20
Dale Woods Houghwood 20
Nick Patterson Mere 20
Ashley Siddle Rossendale 20
Matt Buckley Bolton Old Links 20
George Young Clitheroe 15
Grady Rogerson Royal Lytham 15
Thomas Riley Clitheroe 15
Liam Kindon Delamere Forest 15
Joe Raeside Mount Murray 15
Jay Walkden Baxenden 15
Paul Galt Prenton 15
Roy Anderton Chorley 15
Declan Buksh Marsden Park 15
Gary Hindle Warrington 15
John Spencer Rossendale 15
Craig Lewis Wallasey 15
Chris Lloyd Bolton 15
Gary Blades Burnley 10
Alex Webb Preston 10
John Reed Preston 10
Michael Sumner Formby 10
David Higginbotham Southport & Ainsdale 10
Greg Peel Wilpshire 10
James Ashfield Eaton 10
Max Rogers Astbury 10
Charles Taylor Accrington 10
Aaron Williams Prestatyn 10
Craig Fallows Huyton & Prescot 10
Luke Ormerod Nelson 10
Dave Morgan Wilmslow 10

 

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Issued by David Birtill.Tel: 01254 831844; Mob: 07850539110; Email: golf@birtill.demon.co.uk

 

Third time lucky for Alison Gray

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ALISON Gray and retired dentist Pat Johnson bridged a three-year gap at Pestana Vila Sol, Portugal, to ensure the name of Ormskirk Golf Club was finally engraved on the WPGA Lombard Trophy.

Gray (pictured by Tony Marshall, Getty Images) has played in every final of the competition since it was launched, finishing third in 2016 and fourth last year.

“Third time lucky,” she beamed after the pair completed the final hole on the Algarve resort’s Prime course without mishap to win the tournament.

There was nothing lucky, however, about the victory in the £7,800 event which is supported by Pestana Hotels and Coca Cola.

Successive sub-par rounds for a four-under-par total of 140 are testament to that. Likewise, the way Gray and her partner, a recent convert to golf from hockey with a handicap of 27, repelled the challenge of Leeds Golf Centre and Beau Desert Golf Club.

Ormskirk had begun the second round a shot clear of Leeds pair PGA pro Eleanor Robinson and Marise Richford and ended it two ahead of runners up, Beau Desert.

The latter’s pairing of 1997 US Women’s Open champion and Solheim Cup player and captain, Alison Nicholas, and her amateur partner, Pam Bailey, posted the round of the tournament.

But their five-under-par 67 was not sufficient to repair the damage done by their opening three-over-par round of 75.

Neither did it trouble the eventual winners. Until they imploded on the back nine, after reaching the turn a shot shy of Ormskirk, Leeds Golf Centre posed the bigger threat.

Ormskirk, meanwhile, adopted a Faldoesque approach to claim that hitherto elusive success and signed off with nine successive pars.

“We were very consistent,” said Gray. “I didn’t make many birdies but there were plenty of solid pars.”

Playing a part in those solid pars were some new TaylorMade irons courtesy of a small wager on fellow PGA pro and Staysure Senior Tour winner David Shacklady and Gray’s long-serving caddy, friend and Ormskirk member, Yvonne Brown.

“David got me started in golf when I was 15,” Gray recalled. “I was cack-handed and held the club the wrong way. He sorted that out and helped me with my game.

“We’ve known each other ever since and I’ve followed his progress on the Senior Tour. I saw that he came fifth in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at the London Club last month and was 75 to one to win the next event, the Russian Open.

“I don’t usually bet but I put a fiver on him and he won – that paid for the clubs!

“As for Yvonne, we play about three times a week at Ormskirk and she’s caddied for me for four years. She knows my game inside out and I couldn’t have done this without her.

“She’s been here with me in all three finals so it’s brilliant to finally win, to obviously have played well and had a fun week with my amateur. And it’s great for ladies golf to be here competing alongside the men.

“It’s an excellent week in all respects. It’s a fun week but you still get nervous because you want to do well for yourself and not let your amateur down.”

Johnson, for her part, did not let her pro down but was indebted to the support she received from team Ormskirk.

“I only took up the game four years ago,” she said. “It’s been a rapid progression in a way and it’s all a bit surreal.

“I feel so lucky to have been here and had a crack at the course. Ali was so supportive, as was Yvonne, and my husband who caddied for me and kept me calm. I’ve had a lovely time.”

Leading scores: Ormskirk Golf Club 140 (-4); Beau Desert Golf Club (142 (-2); Leeds Golf Centre 143 (-1)

 

Lancashire seniors set sights on double

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BIG SHOTS: Lancashire senior players celebrate another victory

LANCASHIRE’S senior golfers have one title in the bag – and their sights on a second. They powered through their Northern Counties League campaign with an unbeaten run of five wins from five starts.

Mike Gray’s side had seen off Cheshire, Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland as they chased their first championship crown since 2016 and the fifth time in all since 2011.

And they made no mistake in dismissing their opponents in the final match, Cumbria, by a comprehensive 12-6 margin to complete a spectacular clean sweep.

Hard on their heels of the championship success came another impressive show as Lancashire won the Northern qualifier at Delamere Forest to reach the English finals at Stanton on the Wolds on October 9-11.

The winning team was Tony Holt, Neil Self, Karl Bowker, Tony Flanagan, Ian Crowther and Bryan Hughes. They will be joined by Trevor Foster and Rob Godley in the eight-man team for the national finals.

Gray, who is stepping down after 10 years at the helm, said: “The team have played superbly all season – they are a talented group of players and their pride, passion and attitude in playing for Lancashire and wanting to do well has been first class.

“Their ability to produce the goods when their backs are against the wall is fantastic and I would like to put on record my appreciation for all the players who have represented the county during my time as captain. I don’t think any Yorkshireman could be prouder of a group of Lancastrians!”

The squad includes newly-crowned British Amateur senior champion Accrington’s Foster and the man who succeeded him as Lancashire senior champion, Tony Flanagan (Clitheroe), as well as stalwarts such as former county captain Billy Bromilow (Chorley) and Tony Holt (Clitheroe). Other regulars include Neil Self (Stand), Steve Lord (Rochdale), Steve Matthews (Blackburn) and Gary Byrne (Clitheroe).

Newcomers to the county set-up this season included Bryan Hughes (Hesketh), the 2017 British Seniors’ Champion, Karl Bowker (Bolton Old Links), Martyn Brooks (Pleasington), Dave Hannis (Blackpool North Shore) and Rob Godley (Hillside).

The team has certainly had to battle hard for success through the season, with a narrow 9.5-8.5 win over Northumberland maintaining their unbeaten run. The pairings of Flanagan/David Hannis (Blackpool North Shore); Bromilow/Andy Riley (Burnley); and Rob Parry (Royal Birkdale)/Peter Darlington (Southport & Ainsdale)) producing a vital haul of five points in the final three matches.

Previously, Lancashire secured a 10-8 win over a determined Durham side, who pushed them hard throughout, and a dramatic 10-8 victory over Roses rivals Yorkshire.

A match of nip and tuck seemed destined for a draw until Lancashire’s final pairing of Andy Riley and Ian Owens (Burnley) fought back from two down with three to play to gain the all important half on the 18th.

“The Yorkshire match was a titanic struggle between the two teams I believe are the strongest in seniors’ golf in England, with the match featuring a dozen players off scratch or better,” added Gray.

Lancashire opened the season with a 14.5 to 3.5 romp against Cheshire.

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Parry applies the finishing touch!

David Hannis & Steve Parry.jpegSTEVE Parry staged a grandstand finish to win the James Brearley Lancashire Open for the second time in three years at blustery Blackpool North Shore.

The Hart Common professional, who  trailed a shot behind overnight leader Davenport’s Scott Howarth who had posted a five-under-par 66, looked to be slipping back into the pack after a double bogey at the ninth.

But Parry (pictured right with David Hannis, CEO of James Brearley) immediately retrieved the situation with an eagle at the next hole which proved just the incentive he needed.

“That lifted me to minus four but I didn’t have a clue about what was going on elsewhere on the course,” he admitted.

“I then birdied the 10th and dropped a stroke at the next but picked up shots on three of the next four holes, despite the strong wind, then parred the last two to finish six-under-par.”

Parry, who turned 40 last week, also picked up three Order of Merit awards in as many years.

But he revealed: “I have not had great season on the EuroPro Tour but I’ll keep trying. A lot of good players are my age and over and there’s no way I’m going to slow down.”

Liverpool Driving Range professional Tim Ford repeated his opening round of 69 to finish in a share of second place with Swinton Park’s David Smith.

FINAL ROUND: 136 Steve Parry (Hart Common) 67 69; 138 Tim Ford (Liverpool Driving Range) 69 69, David Smith (Swinton Park) 68 70; 139 Timothy Dykes (Penrith) 73 66, David Shacklady (Mossock Hall) 70 69; 140 Robert Booth (Outlane) 70 70; 141 Daniel Croft (Allerton Manor) 72 69, Phil Kelly (PK Golf) 71 70, Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham) 71 70, Craig Corrigan (Chilli Dip) 70 71, Jamie Howarth (Davenport) 69 72.