07 Aug The Club Championship Preview
The Todmorden Golf Club Championship is played off scratch. For that reason recent years have been contested by only a handful of players. Dave Stafford, Mike Murray and Chris Thornsby are all just above scratch, after which the field stretches away in both handicaps and any dreams of this title. As Dave and Mike have gone onto green pastures new you may think with his handicap of 1.4 now, that Chris Thornsby would have one hand on the trophy. Unfortunately, neither of Chris’s hands will be on the trophy as he can’t make this weekend, so now the competition has truly opened up to a number of contenders.
Even with Chris in the mix sport by its nature is unpredictable, especially golf. One bad hole didn’t stop Chris producing a superlative 64 in the first medal of the season but an 82 in the JHJ Barker 2nd round proved that he is human like the rest of us. Everyone has a chance especially those those few shots behind on the TGC handicap tree – now more than ever before.
We look at the top of that tree to see who’s lying in wait.
Top of the TGC Tree
So, who is shaping up to take the honours? Anthony Barnett has that one stroke advantage while Rob Watkins, with one major already to his name, will be strongly fancied. Rob has gone on from his JHJ Barker win to top Division 1 in Medal 2 and shows no signs of dropping form. A couple of shots back is Marcus Calvert. A new member at TGC, Marcus is making his mark and with some practice away on the links courses of Wales under his belt as well as marching on in the Fred Hirst he seems to be on form at just the right time. Just three strokes back is a pool that contains Rob Ogden, Mark Wareing and Dan Fielden. Now there’s a quality three-ball. Rob smashed his way into the lead in the JHJ Barker first round with a scintillating 67 only to be undone by the weather and the 15th in round two. Then we have two of the most consistent players of the season so far. The Summer League tells that story with Dan Fielden and Mark Wareing a way out on top and both capable of going very much under their handicaps in any one match. The single figure handicappers is not finished with a mention of Trevor Barnes. Hugely experienced and the talent to match, Trevor will not be far away. And why not have a champion in Rich Mills or Matty Sax? Rich’s explosive victory in the Winter League shows he has the mettle and firepower and Matty Sax has few to match his competitive edge. If he gets off to a flyer then, as he has proved in the Fred Hirst, he has the mental capability to grind out the perfect result. And last but not least we throw in a curve ball. Lee Earnshaw, a JHJ Barker winner, has been playing superbly well this season and after coming back to win from 4 down with 4 to play in round 2 of the First Hirst, he’s proved that being 5 shots adrift doesn’t mean too much.
Over 36 holes and with four shots separating the top fourteen handicaps there is nothing to say this Championship is a foregone conclusion.