The Finch Golf Tour hosted their 3rd instalment of the Annual Lancashire Festival at the end of March 2019 prior to their departure for another annual trip to the Masters.
The event was hosted by three top venues which boast former winners such as Matteo Mannesaro at West Lancashire GC, Seve Ballesteros at Royal Lytham and St Annes and Justin Leonard on his way to winning final Qualifying at Fairhaven GC for the 1996 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes GC a year before he triumphed in 1997 Open Championship at Royal Troon – How’s that for a stat!
With a full field in store for the three day event it was certainly the inclusion of the World Renowned Royal Lytham which drew attention of the event with players travelling from Scotland, Wales, Surrey, Yorkshire, Cheshire & Lancashire.
We laid on bacon barms…….. yes barms, not baps, cakes, muffins or any other crazy names people call them from far away lands, we was contesting the Lancashire Festival after all so Bacon Barms where order of the day.
The staff at each club during the event where absolutely fantastic and this set the seen for some fantastic yet realistic golf as golfers over all three days struggled to break par with the winning score a handicap matching level par.
Again the Finch “Sunshine” Tour was blessed with idyllic weather and battle commenced at a pristine West Lancashire Golf Club.
West Lancashire Golf Club – Wednesday 27th March 2019
On a day when only 4 players broke par its was Chorley Golf Club’s Daniel Rigby who lay on top of the pile after a sublime 39 points on day one, but it was a great ball striking round for Preston Golf Club member Neil Chambers which had Rigby panicking as Chambers opened the door with a lack lustre finish of 6, 5 accruing just one point in his final two holes for a 2nd place 38 points on day one.
The remaining players to break par (both 37 points) on a very demanding West Lancashire Golf Club where Simon Murphy of Davyhulme Park GC and David Mulvey of Houghwood GC both also finished with untidy scores coming back in on the tough back nine, as scoring from single figure handicappers Graham Hollingdrake, Frank Marrion and Andy Jameson was on point with level par 36 stableford points.
The scores where bunched between 35 and 30 as golfers began to leave for the day in anticipation for the day ahead and for many a 1st visit to the bucket list venue of Royal Lytham and St Annes
West Lancashire GC Results – Click on each name to view daily scores
Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club – Thursday 28th March 2019
As the sun began to rise over the championship venue the class was in abundance just as Joanne & Ken walked through the door and the staff at Royal Lytham couldn’t do enough to make sure the Finch Golf Tour team and players had the perfect day ahead of them.
Typically as all tournaments play out the penultimate round is moving or consolidating day but on a day when just one player Dan Thompson of Lancaster Golf Club (37) broke par it proved a day for hanging in there was vital as by the end of the day an amazing 26 players where within 10 shots of the lead.
The were praise and thanks in abundance from all the players but lots of players ruing their bunker activity for the day as the strategically placed bunkers gobbled up many errant or even perfectly struck shots as this famous links showed its teeth to the amateur golfers.
Very respectable scores from Kevin Fahy & Nigel Given (36 Points) each catapulted them both into the top 10 as 3 handicapper Gary Walker from Deane Golf Club lurked in 11th position after respectable rounds of 33 on each day.
Rigby retained top spot but after a (+4) 32 Points he had been joined at the peak by David Mulvey whose 34 points included two gross birdies on each nine made for steady golf.
Scott Jackson’s two 35’s where more than commendable and offered him a place in the final group on day three alongside Farnham Golf Club (Surrey) Member Barrie Richmond also finding a space in the final group with a fine two round total of 70.
Simon Murphy (69) Dan Thompson, Andy Jameson & Garry Norris (68) completed the top 10 as the golfers moved to Fairhaven GC on Friday to try and claim the top spot for the 2019 Lancashire Festival from Finch Golf Tour.
Royal Lytham and St Annes GC Results – Click on each name to view daily scores
Fairhaven Golf Club – Friday 29th March 2019
It was great over the three days to see regular Finch Golf Tour players competing alongside new golfers to the tour.
Golf is a great way to test yourself and other three days its certainly a gruelling test of your mental ability but with 50th Birthday celebrations and an awards dinner night meant that golfers where left with banging heads rather than banging on the door of top spot during another fantastic final round.
50th celebrations have stated early for Ian McCann but he was soon thinking of the clubhouse when his trolley broke in half on the 4th meaning carrying and dragging his trolley for the next 1 1/2 hours, but his best round of the week followed and 35 points recorded.
Dan Rigby had been leading from the get go of the tournament but an award dinner with work, played havoc with his chances as he rolled up 5 mins before his tee time and eventually had to settle for a 36th place finish after a 20 point total saw the Lancashire Festival’s biggest collapse since Chris Nuttall’s in the inaugural championship’s final round at Ormskirk GC.
Three names yet to feature in the Top Ten of the tournament made their moves and cemented a great three days as Pete Rodgers 10th with 100, Peter McKenna 5th with 102 and Kevin Fahy 4th with 103, but the battle for 1st place between two players in the final group and Gary Walker who from a couple of groups back posted a final round 38 which had him right in the mix and a final score of +4 (104)
But it was the duo of David Mulvey and Barrie Richmond whose battle for the top spot had swung back and forth from as early as day one.
Mulvey’s eagle two on the 13th at West Lancashire GC holing out from 130 yards had left the Houghwood man in charge and with 9 holes of the tournament to go Mulvey lead Barrie Richmond by 4 strokes but a stellar back nine had Barrie bang in contention as the pair stood on the 18th tee.
With Rigby and Jackson out of contention Mulvey stood on the final tee one stroke clear knowing a solid par would leave Richmond needing a birdie 4 to clinch the title.
Mulvey played the final hole conservatively but impressively given the circumstances and tapped in for his 5, that opened the door for Richmond whose only other previous gross birdie during the event was his fantastic 2 on the 2nd hole on the Final Day.
A perfect drive and fairway wood left Richmond in prime spot for his approach to the 18th and a crisp strike left the stage for Richmond as a 12ft putt was required for victory and after sizing the putt from all angles a smoothly stroked putt found the bottom of the cup and it was the perfect finish to a great week with the winning putt coming in the final group on the final day!
GOLF WINS AGAIN!
Thank you for all of the competitors over the week and we look forward to welcoming you to future events!
Until next time from everybody at FINCH GOLF TOUR!