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Lancashire junior wins top award

A LANCASHIRE teenager turned the tables in dramatic style to earn the award for best individual performance at the Northern Counties Boys’ County Qualifying Championship.

Luke Kelly, from Ashton-in-Makerfield Golf Club, received the John Todd Trophy for his efforts in helping the Red Rose county’s junior team at the event.

He showed commendable determination in the face of an horrendous start which might have derailed many players – and ended the day by firing a new course record 63 at Warrington Golf Club.

On the very first tee of the 36-hole tournament, Kelly’s opening shot finished four inches the wrong side of the out of bounds line and his provisional ball was in the trees, leading to a four over par eight.

It did not immediately get much better as Kelly reached the turn in five over par – but the second half of his round was a very different story.

He roared back in five under par, a score that might have been even better had putts on 10, 16 and 18 all dropped for birdies.

Second time round his nightmare returned on the first, with Kelly again needing a provisional tee shot, but he fought back to reach the turn at two under.

He then set about attacking the back nine again, with birdies at the short 10th and 12th holes. He followed up with back to birdies on 15 and 16, while a towering second shot on the 17th set up an eagle three.

He got to the 18th green with another birdie opportunity and while his effort hung on the lip of the hole and stayed out, it still meant Kelly had covered the back nine in just 30 shots.

All in, Kelly had covered his last 27 holes in a remarkable 13 under par.

Said Dr Steven Reid, President of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs: “This was a great example of what can be achieved if you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.

“After the start he had, Luke’s shoulders might have dropped but he seemed unfazed and his fantastic efforts over the remaining holes was as much about his individual performance as it was his determination to make a contribution to the team effort.”

Despite a spirited afternoon fightback, Lancashire had to settle for third at the event behind winners Yorkshire and Durham.

FORTHCOMING FIXTURES: July 21 Lancashire Boys v Yorkshire Boys (Easingwold); July 24 U16, U15, U14 Boys v Yorkshire (Davyhulme Park); July 24 Lancashire Seniors v Yorkshire (Woodsome Hall); July 31 Lancashire U16 Boys Championship (Gathurst GC); August 2 U16, U15, U14 Boys v Cheshire (Bury); August 7 Lancashire U14 Boys Championship (Whalley); August 7 Lancashire Seniors v Durham (Haydock Park). 

CAPTION:  Luke Kelly, of Ashton-in-Makerfield GC, with the John Todd Trophy for the best individual performance at the Northern Counties Boys’ County Qualifying Championship.