Northern Order of Merit: Frank Stableford Trophy

WALLASEY WINNER: Lytham and Rossendale’s Alex James

Short-game heroics give Alex the edge at Wallasey

NOoM: Wednesday June 16th

Royal Lytham and Rossendale GC teenager Alex James got his first points in the Northern Order of Merit open series by winning the eighth fixture of the season at Wallasey.

The 36-hole Frank Stableford Cup was played in a scratch stableford format in honour of the man who invented the scoring system while a member of the Wirral-based club.

And the 19-year-old performed superbly to pile up 78 points with his short game right on it. Critically he only had three bogeys all day and he finished with a six under total to earn himself 25 points in the overall standings.

“I got up and down for a lot of pars,” said the Lincoln Memorial University student (Tennessee). “Any mistakes were backed up by the chipping and putting but I got the odd nice bounce too and you have to take advantage of the nice bounces when they come your way.”

Alex started his morning round on the tenth and it took him a while to get going. However birdies on one and four – his 10th and 13th – got him back into contention. He also did well on the par fives with the fast running fairways giving all the entrants a chance of reaching in two.

In the afternoon he played the course in the conventional order and again performed well on the front nine. By the turn he was three under, aided by an eagle on the par five seventh, where he holed out from 20 feet.

On the back nine he added a further 19 points to eclipse Hallamshire’s Julian Wood, who bagged 40 points in the morning but a 37-point return after lunch left him a point shy.

This weekend Alex hopes for more joy at the ninth Northern Order of Merit event at Manchester GC (Hulbert Trophy, Sunday June 20).

Top five finishers (Scratch stableford format)
1) Alex James (Royal Lytham) 38 + 40 = 78 (25 points)
2) Julian Wood (Hallamshire) 40 + 37 = 77 (20)
3) Max Baxendale (Worsley Park) 35 + 40 = 75 (16)
4) Josh Sims (Caldy) 41 + 33 = 74 (14)
5) Joseph Johnson (Royal Birkdale) 34 + 39 = 73 (12)