Cumbria: Men’s Strokeplay Championship

Cumbria strokeplay champion Craig Morrow with his daughter Eliza and son Isaac

Poignant victory for Craig as he rediscovers scoring touch

CUMBRIA: Tuesday June 22nd

New Cumbria Strokeplay champion Craig Morrow has not played much golf in the last two years but you wouldn’t have known it watching him compile four excellent rounds of golf at Ulverston.

Various work and family commitments meant the Seascale player only played a total of eight competition rounds in 2019/20. This year he has managed to play more often but a recent change of putter and putting method has made a big difference to his scores, enabling him to compete to great effect.

“I had been hitting the ball pretty well but not scoring well and not getting up and down enough to save par, regularly enough,” said the 37-year-old. 

“Then I won this putter that was a lot heavier and that helped but I also stopped using the lines-on-the-ball method to putt and reverted to putting a dot on my ball. Now I pick a point six inches in front of my ball – where I want to start the putt out. It is much more of a feel method.

“Also at Ulverston we played on greens that you can stroke the ball on. They were fantastic.”

Craig Morrow celebrates his win with his mum Doreen and brother Kerry, who came ninth

The scoring was certainly impressive for Craig – he won by one on nine under par – and it had to be in a field that included the Welsh Amateur champion Archie Davies (Carlisle), who was close to selection for this year’s Walker Cup side.

Also competing was county legend Will Bowe (Workington), the 2015 Men’s County Champion of Champions winner and once again the ten-time Cumbria champion set the pace with a birdie-laden 65, to leave himself two clear of Craig, Rob Spence (Furness) and Christopher Edge (Carlisle).

In the afternoon the leader opened with three bogeys but an eagle at the par four seventh helped him recover to a one under par 70, a score matched by his Seascale and Furness rivals while reigning champion Davies got within three of the lead thanks to a 68. 

The following morning the race tightened up still further as the Workington stalwart recorded a third-round 72. Going into the last round, four players were separated by just one shot with Craig and Bowe on six under and  Davies and Carus Green ace Will Coxon on five under.

With the two leaders playing together in the final group it turned into a bit of a matchplay duel and Bowe got the early upper hand by birdieing three and four after bogeying two while his playing partner bogeyed both three and four.

However a five on the short par three fifth dragged the leader back towards the chasing pack and after nine holes the players in the final pairing were back level again on six under.

Craig had performed well on the back nine all week and once again he delivered coming home, grabbing his fourth birdie of the weekend on the par five 13th and then recording a pair of threes on the par four 16th and 17th to get ahead of Davies, who was also having fun on the inward stretch.

Playing the last the Seascale player had a one shot advantage over his playing partner and Davies, who was in the clubhouse on eight under and he managed to par the last while a bogey five cost Bowe the runner-up spot.

Top 10 scores (par 70)
1) Craig Morrow (-1, Seascale) 67, 70, 70, 68, 275 (-9)
2) Archie Davies (-7, Carlisle) 70, 68, 70, 68, 276 (-8)
3) Will Bowe (-4, Workington) 65, 70, 72, 70, 277 (-7)
4) Rob Spence (-2, Furness) 67, 70, 73, 69, 279 (-5)
5) Luke Quint (-2, Ulverston) 69, 71, 74, 66, 280 (-4)
6) Will Coxon (-4, Carus Green) 69, 70, 69, 73, 281 (-3)
7) Christopher Edge (-3, Carlisle) 67, 72, 72, 71, 282 (-2)
8) Luke Walker (-2, Ulverston) 72, 71, 73, 70, 286 (+2)
9= Jack Hunter (0, Workington) 72, 72, 74, 69, 287 (+3)
9= Kerry Morrow (-2, Ulverston) 70, 71, 73, 73, 287 (+3)
For full scores click here