ONE of the strongest fields in the history of the event will battle it out to become Lancashire champion.
Lancaster Golf Club hosts the best male players in the Red Rose county from June 2-4 for the Lancashire County Championships.
The starting line-up has been extended from 120 to 135 due to the high level of interest and the quality of the players taking part.
No fewer than 63 players have a handicap of scratch or better.
They include last year’s champion, Mark Ashworth from Clitheroe Golf Club, who will be back to defend his crown.
The field also includes England international Sean Towndrow from Southport and Ainsdale, who spent some of the winter in South Africa as part of his international programme with England Golf. He recently won the Formby Hare after finishing fourth in the S&A Bowl the previous day. His overall performance earned him the Lancashire Links Trophy. Towndrow is a former county champion, having triumphed at Hesketh in 2010.
Among the representatives from the home club will be Jack Clarkson, who has just returned from a successful season in college golf in America.
The first major silverware of the county season – the Boys Championship – was won by Greg Holmes, of Royal Birkdale, and he will be teeing up at Lancaster in pursuit of a title double.
Former champions include Matthew Baldwin (Royal Birkdale), who is now on the European Challenge Tour and won his second title at Lancaster in 2007 when Tommy Fleetwood, now a two-time winner on the European Tour, was runner-up. Twelve months later the Formby Hall player – champion at this year’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship – finished top of the pile at Formby.
FORTHCOMING FIXTURES: May 30 Lancashire Seniors v Staffordshire Seniors (at The Chase); June 2-4 Lancashire County Championship (at Lancaster); June 7 Bell Trophy (at Rochdale); June 11 Lancashire v Cumbria (at Ashton in Makerfield GC); June 12-13 Lancashire Seniors Championship (at Lytham Green Drive); June 21 Bell Trophy (at Lytham Green Drive)