Harborne team lead qualifiers for grand final

Regional Qualifiers 2015 - Harborne Golf Club

A quartet from Harborne Golf Club in Warwickshire have won the latest qualifying tournament for England Golf’s new Club Team Championship and led six groups into the grand final.

The team (pictured) of Debbie Naylor, Rosa Hancock, John Davies and Barry Crutchley won with 85 points at Coventry Golf Club.

They finished a point ahead of the group from Coventry Golf Club, who become the first hosts of a qualifying event to make their way into the final. The other qualifiers were: Hinckley Golf Club, Newark Golf Club, Rose Hill Golf Club and North Warwickshire Golf Club.

They all go forward to the final at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire on Friday, 14 August, where they will play off against finalists from three other qualifying events. It will be a feature of the new Golf Week festival, staged by England Golf to create a national grand finale for a host of handicap and team championships.

“It will be wonderful to represent the club and the Midlands and show that it’s a thriving area for golf,” said Barry.

The new competition invited clubs to enter teams of two men and two women with combined handicaps between 50 and 96. They play a stableford off three-quarters handicap, with the best two scores counting on each hole.

Harborne set a blistering pace over the opening holes. “Rosa holed a 50-footer for a birdie and four points, Debbie did something very similar so we had seven points on the first hole. Then I birdied the second and after two holes we had 13 points!” said Barry. “We said then that this could be our day.”

He added: “The course was lovely and the greens were beautiful and smooth. If you hit the putt it went in.”

Coventry were represented by Chris Doughy, Gill Kettley, Jan Whetstone and Paul Rouse and by contrast they got off to a slow start, but got going towards the end of the front nine.

“We were really keen to do well and quite apprehensive, given that previous home clubs hadn’t qualified,” said Chris.

The format was a hit with the group. Chris remarked: “Anything for the handicappers is great. It’s nice to think we can represent at regional and national level and not be scratch golfers. It’s been great, really good.”

Jan added: “I’ve loved it. My husband doesn’t play golf and I play a lot of ladies’ golf. This has been a nice change and good fun.”

This was the last of four qualifying events. Others have previously been held at Stoneham, Hampshire; Fulford, York; and Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.