DESPITE producing the performance of the day, 19-year-old Adam Walker was denied a second victory in the Halifax, Huddersfield Alliance competition by the final home pairing in the event at Crosland Heath.
The Longley Park three-handicapper tore up the back nine at the Heath with a gross score of 30, which included six birdies, to post an excellent 44 points alongside the steady head of his partner and Bradley Park steward, Steve Pickup, who plays out of Castlefields.
And for three hours it looked set to be the winning card for the first Alliance competition of 2011, which had attracted 62 pairings, but then in the twilight Crosland Heath duo Mick Connolly and John Wadsworth walked in with 45 points to sneak the first prize.
Connolly (14) and Wadsworth (8) proved the very model pairing of consistency (the 11th pair from Crosland Heath), going round their home course without dropping a single shot, while at the same time picking up a gross birdie four at the par five 13th.
And that was good enough to edge out Pickup and Walker, denying what would have been a remarkable win for the latter, who registered to play in the competition only the previous night after Pickup’s partner had to pull out.
Marsden duo Paul Saxon and Pete Doolan came in third with 43 points on a day when the organisers were relieved to find snow had cleared and early fog had lifted.
In the Pro-Am section, only three points covered the first six pairings, with last year’s Order of Merit winner Rob Booth, from Bradley Hall, coming out on top with his partner Andy Hare (3) and a score of 41 points.
Booth, from Mount, put together three consecutive birdies through 11 to 13, with a fine two at the 176-yard par three 12th.
Bradley Park duo James Coverley and his amateur partner Gary Ward (8) were just one point back, Ward having a net eagle on the 388-yard 16th, where he was down for three (for a two) and a big four points.
Bradley clubmates Tom Wild and Barry Martin, along with Woodsome Hall’s Chris Hanson, partnered by Bradley Hall’s Andy Appleyard, tied on 39 points apiece.
The victory for Hall professional Booth – who is this year’s Alliance president – now puts him level on points with newly-qualified Crow Nest professional Gary Evans at the top of the professional Order of Merit with 40 points.
Tournament pro Chris Hanson is currently in third spot, although the Woodsome Hall man has not been able to play in as many Alliance events as the joint leaders.
The next Alliance is on Tuesday, March 8, at Longley Park.