OUTLANE duo Jake Smith and Andy Mellor clinched their first-ever win in the Halifax, Huddersfield Winter Golf Alliance this week at Longley Park – thanks to the ‘eagle-eyed’ pub landlord Smith.
The man in charge at Golcar’s popular Rose and Crown pub, who plays off 13 at the Slack Lane club, fired in a birdie (nett eagle) at the 366-yard 11th to earn four points on the back nine, and that made the difference as he and his partner came in with 41 points, the same as the host club’s long-time leaders Adam Walker and Barry Stacey, but with a superior back nine.
“Andy and I have played together in all this season’s Alliance comps, and we complimented each other well. When one missed out the other scored, so we scored well on each hole, only once having to settle for a single point,” said Smith.
For the runners-up, Stacey, off 11, also produced a nett eagle, his coming at the long par four eighth, when he got down in three shots for a nett two, one of 13 holes he recorded on the Longley card, his three handicap partner playing more of a back-up role on this occasion.
But they couldn’t match Smith and Mellor with a 23-point haul the second time round the Aspley course, which was shrouded in mist early in the day.
Indeed, it was only the late starters who could actually see the first green off the tee, but otherwise the conditions were quite good for so early in the year, after the competition had been re-arranged from the previous week, when frost on the greens had forced organisers to postpone the original date.
The players and organisers were very complimentary over the course and hospitality on the first Alliance outing at Longley for many years which looks set for a regular outing on the Alliance calendar.
It certainly suited the home club’s professional John Ambler and his partner, club captain Paul Phillips, who came in with 37 points to share the Pro-Am prize with Alliance president and Bradley Hall pro Rob Booth and his partner Steve Hopkinson.
Booth’s share of first place, enabled him to stay two points clear of Crow Nest pro Gareth Evans in the professional order of merit, as a total of 31 pairs took part in the event.
Attention switches to West End on Thursday this week.