Trio take English Champion Club title back to Lancashire after hard fought win at Trentham
Southport & Ainsdale proved comfortable winners of the English Champion Club Tournament at a sunny Trentham in Staffordshire.
Starting the day ten clear of the field, the Lancastrians added a collective 217 to their first round 210 for 427, five-under- par, and were never really threatened, ultimately finishing ten shots ahead of runners-up Hindhead. Defending champions Coventry were third on 441.
S&A became the second Lancashire club to win the title, following Formby, back-to-back winners in 2010 and 2011.
With a combined handicap of plus-three, Sean Towndrow finished on four-under 140, Daniel Creaney on 143, and Sean Blinkhorn on 144.
“This is brilliant,” said Towndrow. “It’s a fantastic way to end the season and it’s nice to win for our club. We came here with a decent team and were quietly confident but never got ahead of ourselves. We just went out and played. To finish under-par is phenomenal. The course was in great condition but you have to drive well and putt well. Get those two things right and you post a good score.”
Towndrow confirmed his pedigree with a second successive 70, containing four birdies, while Creaney had three birdies in his 73.
Blinkhorn’s 74 was more adventurous He eagled the 527-yard second hole, then triple-bogeyed the fifth only to bounce back with a birdie at six. The first of his four bogeys came at nine but he responded with birdies at 13 and 14.
Hindhead started the day in ninth place, 14 strokes off the pace but their combined 213, three-under, hauled them up to second spot, thanks to 70s from their two Davids, Corben and Ryles.
Coventry made an even more spectacular rise in defence of the title they won a year ago at Dudsbury. After finishing the first round in 18th place, they produced the lowest return of the day, a four-under 212 to finish a creditable third. Robert Browning and Andrew Carman, members of last year’s winning squad, both went round in 69, while Matt Cryer added a second 74. Browning had five birdies in his 69, as did senior international Carman.
“I’m delighted after shooting 79 yesterday,” said Carman. “It shows there is life in the old dog yet. After going out in 33, I had a chance to go four-under at ten but missed it. However, I had a couple of chip-ins from off the green at 16 and 17, which helped.”
At one stage, it seemed that Spalding from Lincolnshire, for whom Simon Richardson shot back-to-back 69s, might get into the top three but they eventually finished equal fourth alongside Heswall and Worksop.
The best round of the day was produced by Heswall’s Oliver Carr, a 68 which equalled the course record set in the first round by Minchinhampton’s Laurie Potter. Carr’s card contained a back nine of 32 for the second successive day.
But after an eagle-three at the 14th, he nearly came to grief at the par-5 18th when his second shot finished behind bushes and three flag poles left of the green. Before he could get to his ball, a lady pocketed it! Happily, it was replaced and he chipped and putted to save his par.
© Photo supplied by Leaderboard Photography