Royal Birkdale – Monday 4th April

The second of the 2016 Regional Qualifying Tournaments for The Golf Club Secretary – 20th Open Championship took place over the links of the Royal Birkdale Golf Club on Monday, 4th April. Despite the predicted dreadful weather forecast we were blessed with Golf Club Secretary customary sunshine and a wonderfully presented course.

Unsurprisingly, off the yellow tees and with a course measuring just over a very sensible 6400 yards, scoring was extremely good. The winner was Marcus Lovelock (3) Feldon Vally with 38pts a clear point ahead of runner-up, next door neighbour, Chris Williams (4) Hillside on 37pts, a score matched by Matthew Bowman (14) Morpeth, who had already qualified at Luffenham Heath last autumn. In fourth place on 36pts was Darren Murphy (0) Harborne, who was round in level par!

The remaining eight qualifiers were Mick Thorpe (5) Dewsbury on 35pts, Jim Scott (10) 34pts, which was matched by David Holmes (12) Prestbury, Neil Sjoberg (7) Epping, Bob Thompson (7) the recently retired secretary of Fairhaven, whilst the last three qualifiers on 33pts were Jon Hall (3) Headingley, Trevor Glover (10) Chesterfield and Ken Woolford (15) Hanging Heaton. Well played one and all, we hope to see everyone at the Final at Royal West Norfolk, in May.

There was another spectacular golfing feat, the most perfect hole in one (all but captured by PV!) by Ian Walton, Ferndown, who struck a perfect iron to the 157 yard par 3 14th, which pitched and immediately on the second bounce disappeared from view. Congratulations again.

We had a considerable number of ‘new boys’ in attendance and we hope that their day was sufficiently pleasurable that they will join us again – either next week at Royal Wimbledon or the following week at Goswick – or IF that is not possible in the autumn for the 21st Championship.

The reception and service that we received from Royal Birkdale was of the highest order. The links were magnificent in the spring sunshine with the hot pot and chocolate torte matching them for presentation and taste! Our visit was managed most efficiently by secretary Sophi Androulidakis, in the absence of the Club’s Manager, Mike Gilyeat who is recovering from an operation and to whom we all wish a very speedy and complete recovery.

Our thanks to our supporters Dean Poynter, Eagle (36pts), Jamie Abbott and Tammy Hewins, intelligentgolf and Philip Vince of Majestic Crystal, fulfilling his multitasking role of cameraman (shame we didn’t see the pictures!), chocolatier and prize giver/provider – with great skill. Last, but by no means least was the first outing in the Championship for Teeofftimes/BRS’s Bob King, whom we very much hope to see again soon. Thank you.

If it doesn’t sound too self-satisfied, it was a great day and it was wonderful to witness the post round chat in the bar/dining room with so many smiling faces (one or two pink ones at that…) on show.