PAUL CARRIGILL was pipped at the post in his return to competitive golf after a nine-year absence.
The son of Dewsbury bookmaker George Carrigill, Paul and his amateur partner Dave McCarthy from Moortown lost on a card countback in the PGA Super 60s Championship at Leeds Golf Centre.
The tournament is contested by a PGA pro and amateur partner, both of whom must be 60 or over, and was won by Lincolnshire professional Stephen Bennett played alongside Eric Davis from Bennett’s club Waltham Windmill.
Ironically, Carrigill and Bennett last went head to head in the matchplay stages of the Amateur Championship at Royal Troon in 1978 when the Yorkshireman triumphed before both went on to compete on the European Tour where they became firm friends.
Davis, a ten-handicapper, was a late call-up for the tournament and Bennett explained: “My original partner dropped out because of injury a couple of days ago and Eric kindly agreed to play.
“Which is just as well as his putting in the first round effectively kept us in the tournament.”
That red-hot putter, which fashioned a nett birdie on the par-4 18th, resulted in the pair posting a three-under-par 69 to be five shots off the lead.
With four duos on five under and Tony Price and his amateur partner Derek Sanders leading the chase for the £1,250 winner’s cheque on eight under, the odds on Bennett claiming a second tournament triumph in quick succession were long.
Their response was emphatic, however. A better-ball ten-under-par round of 62 was the best posted in the tournament and their 13-under-par total of 131 was only matched by Carrigill and McCarthy, who carded rounds of 67 and 64.
This time Bennett proved the pair’s trump card in a round that featured eight birdies and an eagle at the par-5 15th.
Former Yorkshire Amateur champion Carrigill, who is now employed by the European Tour as a referee and tournament director, was full of praise for his partner. The pair regularly lined up together in the foursomes for Yorkshire and Moortown, and McCarthy is now playing off a useful handicap of eight.
“He played brilliantly and used his shots to great effect,” said Carrigill. “This was my first event since trying to qualify for the Senior Open in 2010 and I was a bit rusty and pretty negative with my golf, but we slotted in well and I managed to salvage pars when he was out of the hole.
“I played the short holes well and managed one birdie in the first round, but that wasn’t good enough to get on the card as Dave holed a wedge shot for an eagle. “It was my first time at Wike Ridge, and it was in great condition, and although we were disappointed to go so close I really did enjoy watching my partner play so well.
“We went to Scotland a few months ago and he was useless, so bad in fact that we had to play matches over six holes not 18 and even when we gave him five shots over the six holes he struggled to win one of the games. So, I was surprised and delighted to see such an improvement in his game.”