YORKSHIRE is rich in depth and talent when it comes to senior golf and that proved to be the key as the Tykes captured the Northern Counties Seniors’ Qualifying Championship at Garforth Golf Club.
Despite being without Rotherham’s Richard Jones and Richard Norton (Beverley & East Riding), who were on international duty with England, Yorkshire won by five shots from the old enemy Lancashire and progressed to the England Golf County Finals at Effingham GC this week (October 8-10).
Captain John Grimbleby said: “With two players on international duty our strength in depth was put to the test and I am pleased to say that the team put up a magnificent performance to secure the title by a five-stroke margin after being three strokes behind at completion of the first round.”
The course was in excellent condition with true but fast championship greens that proved testing. However, in the morning session Alan Wright put together a flawless round of 71, which was only beaten by two other players who posted 68 and 69 respectively. This gave Yorkshire a great start as the CSS rose to 74 to reflect the difficulty of the conditions typified by a blustery wind.
Lancashire posted an opening score of 371 to lead by three shots from Yorkshire with Cheshire only a further shot behind. But Yorkshire’s top of the order rallied in round two as their first three players combined to build a four-shot lead.
Alan Wright finished with 74 after being three under par after the first six holes before Steve Mason, who was a late replacement for Andy Woodhead, performed with great pride to shoot 75 to add to his first-round score of 74. At 65 it was a fitting end to a week that had seen him attain scratch status for the first time in his career.
With the game balanced on a knife edge, and with the best five scores of six to count, the spotlight fell on Moor Allerton’s Johnny Lawrence. The seasoned campaigner knew that if he outscored his Lancashire opponent Yorkshire would win. Birdies on 16 and 17 and a terrific shot to four feet on the last secured the win even if he did manage to three putt from that short distance to reduce the winning margin to five shots.
n Yorkshire golfers were well to the fore as England’s seniors completed a golden double when they won both the European Senior Men’s Team Championship in Denmark and the European Senior Ladies’ Championship in Bulgaria.
The men’s team, which included Rotherham’s Richard Jones and Richard Norton from Beverley &East Riding, started their tournament slowly, finishing in fourth place behind Scotland, Ireland and hosts Denmark after the 36-hole stroke play qualifier at Rungsted.
However, they went on to beat both Sweden and Scotland 4-1 in the opening two rounds of the knockout match play before finishing the job with a 3.5-1.5 victory over Ireland in the final.
It was England’s first victory in the championship since their win on home soil at Fairhaven in 2010 and it was a huge success considering the team hadn’t made the final for several years:
Meanwhile, in south-eastern Europe, the England Senior Ladies’ Team, which included Wakefield’s Julie Wheeldon, were securing their own success by defeating Spain to claim their first Senior European Championship since 2014.
The ladies’ team started the tournament at BlackSeaRama in Bulgaria by finishing third behind Sweden and Ireland in the 36-hole stroke play qualifier and went on to beat both France 3-2 and Ireland 3.5-1.5 to reach the final.
There they defeated Spain, looking for their first-ever triumph, by the same scoreline to cap a wonderful weekend for the senior English teams.