Opens: North West Links Championship

PROLIFIC: North West Links Championship winner Jack Brooks (The Mere)

Non-stop Jack leaves it late at Royal Birkdale

OPENS: Tuesday, August 17th

FORMAT: 72-hole strokeplay

England squad member Jack Brooks came from five back to pip Derbyshire’s Samuel Potter to keep hold of his North West Links Championship title.

The prestigious open his jointly held at Hillside and Royal Birkdale and two years ago the Bolton-based Mere player won by ten shots.

This time around regaining the trophy looked a long shot as Potter took a substantial lead after the opening round at the Open venue. 

However a run of birdies at 16, 17 and 18 – Jack started his second round at Birkdale on the tenth – changed the dynamic and the Cheshire player closed with a 74 while Potter finished with a seven-over 79 which meant the reigning champion came out on top courtesy of second round countback.

For Jack it justified his decision to travel through the night from South Wales where he had just completed 36 holes at the Welsh Men’s Open Strokeplay – he finished joint 12th. It meant playing six rounds in three days but the 30-year-old was delighted to have a done a very special double. In May he won the Lancashire Links Open, which is jointly held at Southport & Ainsdale and Formby.

“To have won both major ’Southport’ opens means a lot,” said Jack.

“My ambition at the start of the year was to get into the top 100 in the ‘Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings’ and I am on track to do that (he is currently ranked 120).”

Jack’s unrelenting schedule means he heads straight to this week’s Brabazon Trophy “with a bit of form” and puts a lot of his success down to plant-based energy products made by Bol.

He added: “I find it stops me from feeling tired and gives me the ability to play so much and stay alert during tournaments whilst doing all the mileage.”

Having driven nearly 200 miles to get from Machynys Peninsula Golf & Country Club to Hillside for his morning tee time, Jack shot a level par 72 and repeated the trick after lunch to finish three behind the Kedleston Park player, who collected the Pines Trophy.

The next day the field were also playing for the Birkdale Silver Goblet – won by Royal Lytham’s Jamie Van Wyk, who opened with a 68 and followed it up with a 74, which also helped him to move up to third in North West Links standings.

Both 36-hole competitions were also part of the Northern Order of Merit Championship, which Jack is currently leading by 83 points from Hallamshire’s Julian Wood.

Leading scores (Rds 1/2: Hillside; Rds 3/4: Birkdale. Both par 72)
1) Jack Brooks (The Mere) 72, 72, 76, 74, 294 (+6)*
2) Samuel Potter (Kedleston Park) 72, 69, 74, 79, 294 (+6)
3) Jamie Van Wyk (Royal Lytham) 79, 75, 68, 74, 296 (+8)
4) George Ash (Hallowes) 73, 75, 74, 74, 296 (+8)
5) George Holland (Southport & Ainsdale) 78, 73, 76, 70, 297 (+9)
6) Julian Wood (Hallamshire) 73, 70, 77, 77, 297 (+9)
7) Jack McPhail (Southport & Ainsdale) 79, 73, 72, 74, 298 (+10)
8) Dominic Barron Holden (Kendal) 82, 74, 72, 71, 299 (+11)
9) Christopher Edge (Carlisle) 75, 70, 77, 77, 299 (+11)
10) James Nash (Ormskirk)  86, 68, 72, 74, 300 (+12)
11) George Duncan (Windyhill) 76, 77, 71, 78, 302 (+14)
12) Steven Capper (Royal Liverpool) 77, 76, 73, 77, 303 (+15)
13) Daniel Belch (Bolton) 77, 73, 77, 76, 303 (+15)
14) George Howard (The Gog Magog) 73, 77, 75, 78, 303 (+15)
15) Mark Halliday (Deeside) 75, 76, 75, 81, 307 (+19)
16) Rob Spence (Furness) 73, 76, 76, 82, 307 (+19)
17) Richard Harris (Hayling) 74, 78, 77, 79, 308 (+20)
18) Benn McLeod (Musselburgh) 81, 73, 73, 81, 308 (+20)
19) Louis Sanders (Copt Heath) 75, 76, 80, 78, 309 (+21)
20) Jack Wiggans (Chorley) 81, 73, 76, 79, 309 (+21)
* Won on 2nd round countback at Birkdale
Top ten in the Northern Order of Merit standings after 20 events
1) Jack Brooks 193pts
2) Julian Wood 110
3) Jack McPhail 91
4) Josh Sims 80
5) Jamie Van Wyk 75
6) Alex James 71
7) Dominic Barron Holden 65
8) Tyler Hand 53
9) George Young 53
10) Aiden Hoosen 44
For the full standings click here