Clean sweep for golfers in Portugal

By Steve Jackson

Ryan Connolly.
Ryan Connolly.

Wellingborough golfers claimed a clean sweep of the professional and team prizes in the NPGA Winter Series Overseas Pro-Am after competing on the Quinta do Lago North, South and Laranjal courses, plus the Old Course at Vilamoura in Portugal.

Simon Lilly secured the individual pro honours with an imperious display of golf as he carded the best total of 40 points in the opening round, before adding scores of 38 and 39 points to sit seven points clear of the field going into the final day.

Any fears of being caught quickly disappeared as the 45-year-old fired six birdies over the back nine in a closing round of 44 points to extend his advantage to 15 points from runner-up Michael Campbell (Kettering).

Wellingborough assistant pro Ryan Connolly also enjoyed a successful trip as he combined with club amateurs Sam Waite, Matt Wilkinson and Tom Blevins to clinch the team plaudits with 330 points.

After posting 80 points in both the opening two rounds, Connolly’s team surged to a five-point victory from the quartet led by Kettering’s Ian Green, thanks to back-to-back totals of 85 points on the last couple of days.

Priors Hall

Jim Collins and Michael Sawford emphasised their status as the in-form players at Priors Hall as they grabbed two club victories in less than a week.

The duo came out on top in the sixth week of the Winter League Doubles tournament on countback from Gavin Harding and Gavin Symington after posting 30 points over 11 holes.

Collins and Sawford maintained their touch into the Seniors Texas Scramble four days later as they combined with Ian Hunter and Graeme Thomson to shoot the leading team total of net 58.

Mick Mitchell, Jack Marr, Tommy Byrne and Colin Sawers (61) finished second by a single stroke from Anthony Cornwell, John McConnell, David Galway and Pat Annand.

Rushden

Four points was the margin of success in both the Saturday and Sunday Stablefords in the sixth round of the Rushden Winter League.

Richard Butlin’s tally of 31 points secured first prize in the opening competition ahead of Nigel Mersh and Richard Wright, before Robert McDonald (28) took the plaudits 24 hours later from Edward Whiley.

Overstone Park

Bryce McIntyre smashed an exceptional total of 23 points over the back nine at Overstone Park to win the Junior Order of Merit event.

A gross birdie on the 14th hole helped the youngster finish three points ahead of runner-up Abi Kyle, with Jadon Pham in third on 17.

Wellingborough

Tim Coleman, Colin Armstrong, Wayne Partridge and Andy Cox were the quartet to beat in the Men’s Team Competition at Wellingborough.

They bagged the leading score of 88 points.

Duncan Felce, Gary Jackson, Richard Munns and Steve Munns (87) had to be content with second spot.

They edged out the quartet of Mark Rashley, Martin Dalton, Jon Critchley and Adam Clifton on countback.