Fylde coast golf round-up: Regional qualifiers for The Open; results and playing tips

Nicholas Peoples of Royal Lytham and St Annes has won through to final qualifying for The Open Championship  Picture: BRIAN CLARK
Nicholas Peoples of Royal Lytham and St Annes has won through to final qualifying for The Open Championship Picture: BRIAN CLARK

Two players from Royal Lytham and St Annes savoured success in regional qualifying for The Open Championship at Fairhaven Golf Club this week.

READ MORE: Colin Montgomerie relishes return to Royal Lytham and St Annes
Thirteen players won through to final qualifying next Tuesday, Ben Firth of Leeds Golf Centre and Nicholas Marsh of Huddersfield leading the way with five under par 67s.

The other qualifiers include RL&SA’s Nicholas Peoples, who tied for third on four-under with The Mere’s Richard Finch, and fellow RL&SA amateur Callan Barrow, who won a play-off after his one-under 71.

The other qualifiers were Sam Crowther, former Fairhaven Trophy winner Tiger Christensen (both 69), Jake Hibbert, Oliver Carr, Thomas Winn, Mark Ramsdale, Greg Holmes and James Newton (all 70).

Barrow entered the play-off as one of six players to shoot 71s, sealing his place in final qualifying with a superb eagle on the last play-off hole. Fairhaven’s Darren Carlisle was among those to miss out in the play-off.

RL&SA’s Sam Turner was another who went close, shooting a level-par 72.

St Annes Old Links is one of the four venues for next week’s final qualifying, the others being Fairmont St Andrews, Notts Hollinwell and Prince’s in Kent. The Open is to be staged at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland, from July 18-21.

It’s the second time in three years that St Annes Old Links has staged final qualifying and the event coincides appropriately with a special centenary at the club.

It’s exactly 100 years since the course staged the Victory Tournament in 1919, which attracted some of the biggest names in the game.

It was a warm-up event for the Professional Golfer’s Championship staged at St Andrews that year instead of The Open, which was yet to resume after World War I.

This year’s vice-captain at Old Links, Nigel Brayne, told The Gazette: “I was brushing up on my club history and found out about the Victory Trophy.

“John Henry Taylor won it with a score of 301 over four rounds but so many of the greats took part: Harry Vardon, Alex ‘Sandy’ Herd, our own professional Harry Simpson and Abe Mitchell, the man on top of the Ryder Cup.”

In the third lady captain’s qualifier at Fairhaven, the division one winner was Helen Miller with a 76. Linda Smith was the division two winner (80) and Susan Godfrey in division three (80).

The nine-hole competition was won by Angel Greenhalgh with 20 points and the men’s 4BBB winners were Andy Jakeman and Colin Jakeman with 46. Runners-up were Iain Brow and David Burns (46).

Four players from Blackpool North Shore Golf Club will be taking on the ‘Longest Day’ challenge this Friday.

The club’s head teaching professional Curtis Dean will be joined by fellow club members John Gibson and brothers Dave and Pete Collis in a charity bid to play four rounds of their home course in a single day.

All proceeds from their epic 72-hole adventure will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Curtis told The Gazette: “The plan is to start at 4.30am and we reckon we’ll cover 20-30 miles in the day.

“Our aim is to play the first two rounds in six hours and take it from there but it’s forecast to be one of the hottest days of the year.”

You can make a donation by visiting https://longestdaygolf.macmillan.org.uk and search for ‘BNSGC fourstars’ in the ‘donate’ box.

Lancaster closed Herons Reach’s lead to two points in the Fylde Senior League after a 3.5-2.5 win at Fairhaven, though Herons had no match and now have a game in hand.

Most teams have now reached the halfway point and below the top two it’s pretty close.

Lytham Green Drive are third after a 3.5-2.5 home win over Ashton and Lea, while Knott End beat Fleetwood by the same score.

Blackpool Park are fifth, and just a point behind Green Drive, after a 3-3 draw with visitors St Annes Old Links.

This week Alastair Taylor of Lytham Golf Academy reveals how to make ball position simple.

In order to get a solid contact on the golf ball and get the correct height of shot with each club, one fundamental that we must get right is the ball position.

Many golfers say the ball should be towards the back foot with a short iron and towards the front foot with the driver. This can create some huge issues with the angle at which the club approaches the ball at impact.

Here’s a really simple way to understand ball position. The low point of your swing should be just in front of your sternum due to weight transfer in the downswing, so with clubs from 7 iron to lob wedge the ball should be opposite your sternum.

As the clubs get longer, the ball position should move slightly forward until driver is opposite your lead shoulder.

This will create the ‘hitting down’ with short irons and ‘hitting up’ with the driver that everyone talks about. With the hitting area also being smaller, even if you are a little out the quality of the strike should not suffer too much.

To contact Alastair at Lytham Golf Academy call 01772 631520