Just as with the Southern version the previous week, a course record set the pace in the Brabazon Trophy Northern Qualifier at Ringway Golf Club near Manchester with Tom Gandy (Rowany, Isle of Man) the hero of the day.
The 22 year old came into the event in good form having finished joint second the previous week in the Irish Open Stroke Play in Dublin and he underlined that by going round in seven-under-par 64.
This knocked a shot off the previous record and gave Gandy a two stroke winning margin from Thomas Rowland (Prudhoe, Northumberland) and William Whiteoak (Shipley, Yorkshire).
Gandy (pictured, image copyright Leaderboard Photography) covered both nines in 32 strokes and his card contained an eagle and six birdies while Rowland had eight birdies in his 66 and he came home in 31 shots. Whiteoak didn’t drop a shot in his five-birdie 66, covering both nines in 33.
The majority of the low scores came during the morning when perfect conditions prevailed. But after lunch a developing wind proved more difficult and, generally, scoring wasn’t quite as good.
For some time it seemed that the qualifying score might be under par but, with 30 places available for the Brabazon Trophy at Seaton Carew on June 25th – 28th, level par 71 proved to be the cut off point.
A playoff was required for the three remaining spots and 14 of those posting 71 lined-up for the sudden death playoff just as the rain began to fall.
A birdie-three at the first hole secured Billy McKenzie’s (Rowlands Castle, Hampshire, IoW & CI) place before the other two spots were decided at the par four second.
Steve Robins (Hull, Yorkshire) chipped-in for birdie from down a slope behind the green, his ball striking the flag and dropping into the cup, while Luke Aston (Beau Desert, Staffordshire) fired his approach to six feet and holed the putt for three.
Players and officials alike were delighted with the condition of the Ringway course and with the welcome received.