Lancashire: Men’s Bell Trophy final

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: Terry Barham (centre) and Nick Gardner (right) with Lancashire Union President Harry Tunnicliffe

Hurlston Hall pairs dominate at Fairhaven finale

LANCS: Wednesday Sept 21st

FORMAT: 18-hole 4BBB stableford

There was a Hurlston Hall 1-2-3 as the Lancashire Union Bell Trophy reached its conclusion at Fairhaven.

And it was the new kids on the block who came out on top. Terry Barham and Nick Gardner entered the competition for the first time this year and took home the trophy, finishing two points ahead of three-time winners Mark Rimmer and Ian Kinsey on 43 points while last year’s champions – Philip Yin and Stephen Dix – were a further two points back in third.

The stableford competition is open to county members who have two chances to reach the six-team finale with Hurlston Hall and Hindley Hall hosting qualifiers this year. At his home course back in June, Terry holed a 20-foot putt to secure their spot.

Together with Nick at Fairhaven, the duo both clicked, particularly on the front nine. After 11 holes they had 29 points.

“The key for us was there were just four holes where we weren’t both in it,” said Terry.

“That really helps take the pressure off and also whenever we needed to pull something off to maintain the momentum, we seemed to manage it.”

That was typified in the opening stages. After a slightly iffy start, they both found the short stuff at the par three second while Terry birdied the par five third having got up and down from a green-side bunker from 30 feet, holing the putt from eight feet,.

After Terry got two more points on the tough fourth, Nick reeled off four pars on the trot with the highlight coming at the seventh. He found a fairway bunker and could only splash out but then hit a marvellous approach to four feet and sunk the putt.

Both players had birdie opportunities at the ninth but with Terry getting a shot, his par gave them 23 points on the front nine.

Terry got his second birdie of the day at the par five 11th which secured the duo their fourth three-pointer in a row, the run ending as he only bogeyed the 12th when he only had a gap wedge for his second. A wayward approach found sand and he two putted for a five.

At the next they both hit good drives but poor seconds and had to settle for a 5-for-2-point bogey and, at this point, worked out that 11 points would probably be enough to win it.

“We thought 43/44 was out there but it’s funny, when you are playing well, you tend to assume everyone else is doing the same,” added Terry.

As it transpired ten points would suffice but not before they got a little shock with playing partners Paul Donelan and Rob Jackson (Regent Park) making a back-nine charge.

Terry added: “After the 13th it went from getting to 43 points to just beating them. They got to within three points of us.”

The Bolton-based duo would only manage three points in the final three holes while the soon-to-be champions bogeyed in from 16 to garner five more points, Terry playing the final hole well after finding a trap with his drive.

Before that Nick gave himself a nerve jangler for a point on 17. Having bashed his par putt four feet past, he took his time and made the four.

“It’s the longest I ever seen him take over a putt,” joked his partner.

Stableford scores (4BBB)
1) Terry Barham (12, Hurlston Hall) and Nick Gardner (11, Hurlston Hall) 43
2) Mark Rimmer (9, Hurlston Hall) and Ian Kinsey (14, Hurlston Hall) 41
3) Philip Yin (14, Hurlston Hall) and Stephen Dix (14, Hurlston Hall) 39
4) Doug Earl (17, Hart Common) and Chris Mugan (15, Hart Common) 38
5) Paul Donelan (8, Regent Park) and Rob Jackson (15, Regent Park) 38
6) Geoffrey Kent (9, Haydock Park) and David Kinsley (14, Haydock Park) 36