Photo finish in battle to qualify for Fairhaven final
LANCS: Thursday May 27th
There was a blanket finish in the battle to reach the final of Lancashire Union’s Collinge Trophy at Leyland GC.
The stableford competition is open to any county member. There are three qualifying events, with the top three at each one meeting in the finale at Fairhaven on September 15. The final qualifier takes place at Haydock Park on July 21st while Blackpool North Shore hosted the first one on May 12th.
At Leyland, six competitors finished on 34 points behind stand-out winner Craig Jones (Huyton and Prescott) and runner-up Chris Hart (Preston).
With Craig having already qualified from the first event at Blackpool, it meant two further places were available and they were decided on a back nine countback.
Ashton-in-Makerfield’s David Hughes birdied the last and he came home with 19 points to make it through while Ormkirk’s Phil Jones blobbed the last but had enough points in the bank (18) to edge out two players who compiled 17 points.
There were no such worries for the winner from Huyton and Prescott, who qualified in third two weeks ago also reached the final in 2019 where he finished third at Hillside GC.
Craig made a brilliant start in difficult conditions. The fairways were so wet it was preferred lies but birdies at two, five and seven left him three under par and on 18 points with 11 holes left.
After bogeying the short par four eighth he narrowly avoided going out of bounds with his approach at the next but still faced a 25-foot for par, critically holing it to maintain the momentum.
The three handicapper had two more birdes on the back nine (15/18) to finish on 39 points, which was four clear of Chris, who also had three birdies during a 21-point front nine.
The other two players to make it through from the first qualifier were Jamie Burgoyne (Pleasington) and Johnathan Shepherd (Haigh Hall).