Opens: Gerald Micklem Cup

BEEN HERE BEFORE: Peter Finch with the Gerald Micklem Cup

Fabulous final round sees Peter retain illustrious Mid-Am title

OPENS: Monday Sept 20th

FORMAT: 54-hole strokeplay

It’s been a season of near misses for Lancashire’s Peter Finch but the former pro finally put that right as he retained the Gerald Micklem Cup at Sunningdale.

The Ashton-in-Makerfield player is believed to be the first to claim back-to-back victories in the prestigious Mid Amateur Open’s 27-year history, coming from six back in the final round to win by one from Hampshire’s Stuart Archibald (Test Valley) and Surrey’s Duncan Hodgson (Burhill).

Before the weekend the plus four handicapper had strung together an impressive array of runner-up finishes – including at the Midlands Mid Am and Harold Hilton Mid Am – but a closing 67 on the New course was enough to get him over the line.

“Going into the final round I just thought if I can shoot 66 that will give me a chance because it is hard leading from the front,” said Peter, who is a director at the golf travel company Golf Mates Travel.

“After finishing I thought I was going to be a couple of shots away so it was a nice surprise to refresh the scores and see my name at the top.”

A stunning birdie at the ninth provided the momentum for a challenge. After a poor tee shot up the right he wasn’t hopeful of even finding his ball but got lucky with the lie and my how he took advantage.

“The ninth is the hardest hole on the course for me. I hit a poor drive and was blocked out and had 225 yards to go while my playing partners were only about 150 yards away.

“I did catch a decent lie in the heather and I was able to cut a three iron around the trees and it finished four feet from the pin. 

“It was a high tariff shot so to pull it off and make a birdie really set me up.”

While the 36-year-old was making ground, 36-hole leader Michael Henson (Bishop Auckland), who started the third round four clear of the field, bogeyed the ninth and also dropped shots at the 10th, 11th (double) and 12th to bring a host of players into contention. In the final reckoning the top 12 would be separated by just six shots.

But Peter moved top with further birdies at 11 and the 14th. That got him to two under par for the tournament.

He added: “I thought if I could par 15, 16 and 17 and then give myself a shot of birdie at 18 I would be in with a great chance.”

Unfortunately he dropped shots at 15 and then at the penultimate hole which left him a shot ahead of his playing partner Hodgson. The Lancastrian then found sand with his second at the last while the former winner from Surrey was on in two.

Thankfully for Peter he splashed out to four feet and holed the putt to stay a shot ahead of his playing partner a and he did not have long to discover Henson had closed with a 77 to leave himself four shots back.

“People were asking me how hard the course was,” added the new champion. “I drove the ball really well and across the three rounds only found the heather three times. If you kept yourself in the fairways you had chances because the course was immaculate. But you could also spend a lot of time looking for balls and those holes round the turn are so difficult. Obviously it was critical for me to move forward on them while Michael moved backwards.”

Leading scores (par 70)
1) Peter Finch (Ashton-in-Makerfield) 69, 73, 67, 209 (-1)
2) Stuart Archibald (Test Valley) 72, 70, 68, 210 (Level)
3) Duncan Hodgson (Burhill) 70, 72, 68, 210 (Level)
4) Rupert Kellock (Sunningdale) 73, 75, 65, 213 (+3)
5) Dean Plant (East Sussex National) 72, 71, 70, 213 (+3)
6) John Kemp (Woburn) 73, 68, 72, 213 (+3)
7) Andrew Minnikin (City of Newcastle) 70, 70, 73, 213 (+3)
8) Michael Henson (Bishop Auckland) 69, 67, 77, 213 (+3)
9) Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park) 70, 77, 67, 214 (+4)
10) Richard Caldwell (Sunningdale) 70, 73, 71, 214 (+4)
11) Jonathan King (Huyton and Prescot) 70, 71, 73, 214 (+4)
12) Phil Dormer (Letchworth) 71, 74, 70, 215 (+5)
For all the scores click here