Lancashire: Men’s Collinge Trophy final

PERSEVERANCE PAYS: Collinge Trophy champion David Hughes

After two decades of trying, it all falls into place for David

LANCS: Tuesday Sept 21st

FORMAT: 18-hole stableford

It was definitely worth the wait for retired golf club manager David Hughes as he triumphed in the Lancashire Union Collinge Trophy final at Fairhaven.

The stableford competition is open to county members who have three chances to reach the nine-man finale with Blackpool North Shore, Leyland and Haydock Park all hosting qualifiers this year.

And the 61-year-old from Ashton-in-Makerfield finally made it to the final after 20 years of trying and then went one better, finishing two points clear of Haigh Hall’s Johnathan Shepherd at the Lytham St Annes venue. Amazingly he only got in after chipping in for a birdie on 18 at Leyland back in May. That shot secured him the third and final qualifying spot on countback.

“I am really chuffed to have won it after all these years of trying,” said David, who is a former manager of Haydock Park and, before that, Huyton and Prescot. “It’s really nice to think my name will be on that trophy forever.”

Two weeks before the Fairhaven showpiece, the 10 handicapper played the course and used that experience to formulate what turned out to be a very successful strategy.

“The fairway bunkers are a nightmare so my plan was to not reach them and I only went in two bunkers all day.”

After a steady bogey at the first, his round came alive at the next. His tee shot at the long par three almost went in but he holed from eight feet for a birdie and four points.

A poor approach at the third cost him a chance of points but pars at the fourth and fifth got him back on track while he got up and down at both the sixth and seventh and would eventually reach 20 points at halfway.

At the 11th he got his seventh par in eight holes and at 14 got slightly lucky as his drive flirted with the out of bounds markers. He was able to escape with a bogey and one point.

However he responded with back-to-back pars for six points. His four at 16 was particularly pleasing as he chipped to 10 feet before sinking the putt

“It was a crucial hole,” added David. “It’s such a long par four and my playing partner, who I was just trying to beat, made a bit of a mess of it.”

With two to go, he surged six points clear of Shepherd, who birdied the last for a four pointer but back-to-back closing bogeys for the leader was enough to get him to the untouchable score of 39 points.

Stableford scores 
1) David Hughes (10, Ashton-in-Makerfield) 39
2) Johnathan Shepherd (13, Haigh Hall) 37
3) Norman Haslam (10, Stand) 36
4) Craig Jones (2, Huyton & Prescot) 35
5) Brian Wakefield (15, Haydock Park) 34
6) Chris Nuttall (8, Hurlston Hall) 32
7) Stephen Morris (11, Lee Park) 31
8) Jamie Burgoyne (6, Pleasington) 29
9) Stephen Lossano (18, Southport Old Links) 26