Liz and Jim win as senior event is cut short

James Crampton

Torrential rain forced play to be abandoned today in the Senior Men’s and Women’s North Regional Tournament at Pannal, Yorkshire, with the winners decided by the first round scores.

Yorkshire’s Jim Butler won the men’s competition with 41 points while Warwickshire’s Liz Moverley took the honours for the ladies with 38 points.

“It’s fantastic, I can’t believe it,” said Liz, who was also runner-up in the first of the season’s series of senior regional tournament. She added: “I’m disappointed not to play today because it’s such a nice course, but I wouldn’t have wanted to go out in this!”

She was out in the first group yesterday and set the standard with impressively steady golf, notching up a string of pars and was finishing with a score of just six-over par gross.

Yesterday’s first round was played in glorious weather with plenty of warm sunshine. Today, by contrast, was marred by extremely heavy rain and, with the bunkers filling up and puddles forming on the fairways and greens, play was abandoned.

The general feeling among competitors was relief, with some cheers and hand clapping as the announcement was made, but others had been prepared to battle in the elements.

Gillian Curley of Northamptonshire County spoke for them when she said: “My only disappointment is that I won’t have a chance to improve my score.” She was in contention with 35 points, but the rain put a stop to her challenge and she took second place.

Third place in the ladies’ event went to Barbara Bateson of Lancaster who had 33 points and took the prize on countback from Cheryl Brown of Keighley.

Meanwhile Jim Butler concluded a successful season in these tournaments with his victory in the men’s event. He’d previously been among the prizewinners in the first regional competition at Leamington & County.

Jim, from Kirbymoorside, set up his score with solid striking, straight driving and a relaxed attitude: “I come to these thinking there’s no pressure, I’ve had good partners and we have a nice natter. It’s a day away from the hassle of work and it’s nice to make a score, but I wouldn’t have been fussed if I had only made 25!”

He finished one point ahead of Bob Mason of Hobson Golf Club in Durham, who scored 40 points. Third place went to Geoff Thompson of Sickleholme in Derbyshire, with 38 points, on countback from Gary Emerson of Selby, Yorkshire.

Although the event was cut short many of the competitors were enthusiastic about the tournament series and planning to return next year. Mick Cartwright, also from Sickleholme and a 12-handicapper, said: “It was fantastic to find that we were eligible to enter an England Golf event off our handicaps. We are very keen golfers and it’s great to enter something of a different level to our normal events.”

Geoff Thompson, who plays off 13, added: “The sociable side is good too, we’ve met a couple of really nice guys from Silloth-on-Solway.”

To image: England Golf Championship Director James Crampton checks the conditions (Image © Leaderboard Photography)