Greenkeeping golfer is king of fairways at national tournament

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A GREENKEEPER based at Hucknall’s golf club has holed out to take a prestigious national title.

Mark ‘Blacky’ Blacknell, of Peveril Street, Hucknall, who works at Leen Valley Golf Centre, has scooped a major prize at the Greenkeepers National Golf Championship.

It is the biggest competition open to greenkeepers in Britain and attracted 120 competitors to the West Lancashire Club in Liverpool.

Players did battle over 36 holes (two rounds) across two days, with titles up for grabs for the player with the best scratch score (irrelevant of handicap) and best net score (after handicap deduction).

Mark won the Challenge Cup in the net competition after shooting a ten-over-par round of 82 (reduced to 77 by his five-handicap) on the first day and 79 (74) on the second day to give an overall total of 151.

What’s more, it provided the perfect birthday gift for Mark, who turned 50 five days after the tournament.

“It was tough on what is a real links (coastal) course with the wind blowing off the sea,” said dad-of-two Mark, who has been playing golf for more than 20 years.

It was Mark’s performance on the second day that fired him to victory. He kicked off with a deadeye iron-shot close to the pin at the first hole. Mark then fired in a 50-foot putt on the second hole for an eagle.

Despite a double-bogey on the par-three 12th, he recovered to sink a four-iron from the fairway for a second eagle on the 13th.

OUR PHOTO shows Mark with his trophy on one of his greens at Leen Valley — DISPIC NHUD11-2810-3.