Simon and Michael seal Northants' first-ever PGA Inter-County Championship
Michael Campbell had a hole-in-one as he and Simon Lilly produced a dominant display at Sutton Coldfield Golf Club
Simon Lilly and Michael Campbell ensured Northamptonshire won the PGA Inter-County Championship for the first time by producing a dominant display that left their rivals battling for the runners-up berth, writes Adrian Milledge.
The pair had ended the fourball round of the 36-hole tournament at Sutton Coldfield Golf Club with a three-shot lead after posting a 10 under par total of 61.
Campbell, who is attached to Kettering Golf Club, provided the highlight of the round with a hole-in-one at the par-three second.
It was the fourth ace of his career and reflecting on his latest, Campbell said: “I’ve hit a few good ones there in the past and have good memories. We couldn’t see it from the tee, but I think it was one hop and in.”
The duo’s performance on day two in the foursomes was less explosive by contrast, nevertheless, they doubled their advantage for a 16 under par score of 126 to claim the £4,000 first prize.
In doing so, they negotiated the tournament’s foursomes round without mishap; a format that, as Lilly acknowledged, is a potential golfing banana skin when it comes to squandering or overhauling a three-shot lead.
“Foursomes is always a funny game,” said Lilly, mindful that the chasing pack at the start of round two comprised six rivals rather than a solitary challenger.
“But we got off to a lovely start. We started birdie, birdie, which was ideal as it gave us more of a cushion.”
It even allowed them to record their sole bogey of the tournament at the next hole, the par-four third. Thereafter normal service was resumed.
Birdies followed at the fourth and fifth holes and three more were recorded on the back nine, Campbell signing off in style after his partner had set him up with a pin-high approach.
Lilly, who has recently joined Wellingborough Golf Club, was even closer three holes prior to that when he came within a foot of emulating Campbell’s ace.
On this occasion, backspin resulted in the ball retreating from its target but, unsurprisingly, Campbell holed yet another birdie putt. All of which typified the pair’s golfing symbiosis.
“We gel really well,” added Lilly.
“I’ve known Michael for years. I used to play golf with his dad and we know each other’s game inside out.
“We felt if we could keep the ball in play and hole some putts we’d have a really good chance. It’s worked out really well.”
So well, in fact, that their domination resulted in their closest pursuers battling for second place. In the event it was shared by Nottinghamshire’s Andy Willey and Thomas Warnock and the Lancashire duo of Phillip Kelly and Simon Lucas.