Archive for the ‘Lancashire Golf’ Category

Festival time as Morecambe hits the mark

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AWARD PRESENTATION: From left, Stuart Buckley, general manager, Adam McAlister, England Golf’s club support officer (Lancashire), Keith Morley, captain, and Simon Fletcher, head professional

MORECAMBE Golf Club has won a national award for its efforts to grow the game and marked the achievement in typical style with a festival for local schools.

It has been presented with the GolfMark award, an official seal of approval for clubs which successfully work to develop the game by attracting new members and encouraging existing ones to play more; using practical business planning to develop the club; offering coaching and playing opportunities for all golfers; and ensuring safeguarding policies are in place

The club celebrated its centenary in 2005 and prides itself on maintaining the traditions of the sport while offering the next generation of players a warm and friendly welcome.

It has been at its present home since 1923, with the Dr Alister MacKenzie designed course offering superb views over the Morecambe Bay and to the Lakeland fells beyond.

The award was presented to the club during a schools tri-golf festival event by England Golf’s Lancashire Golf Club Support officer Adam  McAlister.

Morecambe’s general manager Stuart Buckley said: “”We are one of only a select amount of golf clubs in Lancashire to have received this award and it is a testament to our team of PGA professional coaches and volunteers at the club that put in hours of work to achieve what we have done.”

 

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Champion Flanagan fights way back to fitness

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TOP MAN: Tony Flanagan receives the trophy from Lancs UGC president Mike Lay

TONY Flanagan capped his return from major surgery by being crowned Lancashire Seniors’ county champion for the first time.

The Clitheroe man’s entrance into the over-55 ranks had been delayed by a back problem which required an operation and intensive physiotherapy to even return to the golf course.

With the 58 year-old also suffering problems with the tendons in his right arm, it looked like his chance to be part of the thriving seniors’ scene in the Red Rose county was passing him by.

But at Blackpool North Shore, the months of hard work, both out on the range and on his rehabilitation programme, paid off in style as he claimed the title for the first time with a three-shot victory.

Flanagan paved the way for his success with an opening 70, one under par over the challenging seaside course, which was matched by Karl Bowker of Bolton Old Links.

And he held off the chasing pack with a second day 74 to leave last year’s winner, Trevor Foster from Accrington, in second place.

But the outgoing champion paid a fulsome tribute to his rival and friend, saying: “I have always said football is the best game in the world, but golf is the greatest – and one of the reasons for that is the friendships you make. So I am not disappointed to be runner-up because I am chuffed for the man who has won.”

Flanagan, too, paid tribute to the backing he has received as he battled back from surgery. “To be honest, I was a bit choked,” said the Whalley man, who is playing his first full season in the senior ranks.  “I have received so much support from people.

“This was a championship I always felt I could win, but that doesn’t mean it was going to happen. So I am delighted to have come out on top of a high quality field.”

Flanagan had clubmate Mark Ashworth, a former Lancashire county champion, on the bag for the first round and it proved a successful combination.

“Mark is a good friend of mine and he felt that the course would suit my game,” said Flanagan. “He helped me plot the right lines round the course and then on the second day it was a case of getting round safely to post a total.

“I must admit I had a good feeling about the course when I arrived. I have worked hard on my game and have been striking the ball well. And I holed some important three or four footers on the last five holes to make sure I didn’t drop any shots late on.”

Flanagan will head north for the Scottish Seniors as his next assignment while he is also hoping to play his part in Lancashire’s bid to become national champions again.

Rob Godley (Hillside) finished third behind Flanagan and Foster, while the age group category winners included former Lancashire county captain Cliff Bowman, who took the honours in the over 70 group at the age of 77.

 

 

Winner: Tony Flanagan (Clitheroe GC) 70-74=144 (+2)

Runner-up: Trevor Foster (Accrington GC) 74-73=147 (+5)

Third: Rob Godley (Hillside GC) 75-73=148 (+6)

Category A (55-59 years): Gross winner, Gary Byrne (Clitheroe) 149; Nett winner, Ian Owens (Burnley) 145

Category B (60-64): Gross winner, Martin Wild (Wilmslow) 152; Nett winner, Clive Appleby (Fairhaven) 144

Category C (65-69): Gross winner, Mike Gray (Lancaster) 155; Nett winner, Stuart Coupe (Pleasington) 141

Category D (70 plus): Gross winner, Cliff Bowman (Blackpool North Shore) 162; Nett winner, Len Walker (Denton) 147

Best nett day one: Karl Bowker (Bolton Old Links) 70-2-68

Best nett day two: David Hughes (High Legh) 77-9-68

 

Kelly gets his eye in to win Lancs crown

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CHAMPION: Luke Kelly receives the trophy from Mike Lay, president of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs. Picture: RAYMOND FARLEY

LUKE Kelly delivered one of the rounds of his life on the way to winning the Lancashire County Championship.

The 19-year-old from Ashton-under-Lyne completed a superb two-shot victory over the testing links at West Lancashire Golf Club where he  was seven under par for the four rounds,  his second round six under 66 proving the pivotal moment.

Kelly opened with a two-over 74 which left him in need of making up some ground after Richie Blundell (Hillside) set the pace with a 68, one ahead of George Holland (Southport and Ainsdale).

However a stunning start to his second round sent him on his way to the halfway lead.

Kelly, a regular with the Lancashire county men’s team, rolled in five birdies on the front nine and could have gone even lower after missing a four foot putt at the ninth where his approach rattled the flag.

That set up his 66, matched by Joseph Bannan (Manchester) in the third round on an action-packed final day which saw the remaining 36 holes played out.

Bannan’s heroics cut the gap at the top to one but Kelly held his nerve to deliver 70,71 over the last two rounds to keep his rival and Jonathan Hurst (Pleasington) at bay.

Kelly, who started playing aged 11 at his local club and is coached by Gareth Benson, said: “I hold the course record at Warrington, and that is the only round I can think betters the 66. I had played well on the first day but made a few mistakes, but second time round I started holing a few putts and cut out the errors.

“This was one of the events I always wanted to win and it’s a great feeling to be county champion. It is a great championship and the 72-hole format sets you up nicely for the big national events.

“The weather was different every day so it tested all aspects of your game,” added Kelly, a former England-U16 international.

Meanwhile, Pleasington will represent Lancashire in the national finals of the champion club competition.

 

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Foster steps up to the mark

LANCASHIRE legend  Trevor Foster has marked himself out as a man to watch when the English senior men’s championship gets under way next week.

He heads to Sherwood Forest and Coxmoor Golf Clubs in Nottinghamshire with his first major senior title tucked under his belt.

The Accrington man won the Irish seniors’ championship with a fighting final round of two-under 70 at a very windy Concra Wood. “When I woke up it was blowing a gale and that’s just what I wanted. It was quite a long course and the greens were quite fast but I manged to handle it all right so I was happy,” he said.

Foster came from four shots back to snatch the title, finishing two clear of another Englishman, Littlehampton’s Steve Graham  “To win was massive,” said Foster.

It was a fine result, especially as he was three-over par after two holes of his first round. He contrived to turn in a two-over par score and improved by two shots in each of the remaining rounds.It gave him his third win in four starts – and he was runner up in the other event – making him very much a man in form with the Englishseniors’ due to start next Wednesday, June 6.

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But Foster (pictured) insisted: “I’m still the same old Trevor Foster who can have a bad day like anyone else. This game can bring you down to reality.”

In any case, his motivation is not the titles, but putting in the performances that will earn him a place in the England senior team. “That’s my big goal, to play for England,” he said. “There can’t be anything finer than to walk on the tee representing your country.”

There’s also the small matter of a little teasing from his daughter, Nikki. Both of them have held plus-three handicaps, both have played their respective Open Championships… but Nikki has played for England.

Next week Foster will be one of 288 players who set off in pursuit of the title. The field includes many of the internationals he’d like to join, including the defending champion, Doug Cameron, (Henley, BB&O).

Fellow Lancashire players include Ian Crowther (Royal Lytham & St Annes) who last year won both the Welsh and Italian senior titles, and Bryan Hughes (Hesketh) the British senior champion.

Local interest will focus on the three Sherwood Forest players – Christopher Powell, Clive Graham and David Brown – and the two Coxmoor competitors, Derek McJannet and Trevor Ryan.

All competitors will all play one round on each course before the field is cut to the leading 80 players and ties. They return for the deciding third round at Sherwood Forest on June 8.