Rain fails to dampen success of golf open

Bob Clayton, winner of Byron Open golf 2011
Bob Clayton, winner of Byron Open golf 2011

PERSISTENT rain might have presented a water hazard. But the relaunched Lord Byron Trophy Open went with a swing at the Leen Valley Golf Club in Hucknall.

The event, which was shelved back in 2000, took its place on the tee as part of the line-up for the 2011 Hucknall International Byron Festival.

Now organisers have hailed it a major success after 44 competitors lined up for the 18-hole contest, which was open to any golfer with an official handicap registered with the Council Of National Golf Unions.

The tournament, held on Sunday June 12 at the Wigwam Lane course, was plagued by heavy downpours. But those who started their rounds early on the par-70 course took advantage of the better weather.

One of those was eventual winner Bob Clayton, who shot a gross round of 89 which, when his handicap of 20 was deducted, left him with a net score of 67 shots.

His success was by the narrowest of margins because second-placed Lou Waldron (19-handicap) also shot 67 (86 gross). But Clayton took first place on the countback system of a better back nine holes to scoop the trophy and the title.

Third place went to Paul Cantrill, who finished on 68 (92 gross), fourth was Pete Whittaker (69 net, 83 gross) and fifth was Ray Chadwick (70 net, 92 gross).

The prize for the lowest round of the day went to Andrew Morton, who shot an eight-over-par 78. But because he has a handicap of five, his net total of 73 forced him down the leaderboard.

Morton and Terry Capewell also won vouchers for firing birdies on the par-three, 200-yard 12th hole.

Paul Clare, who is on the competitions committee at the Leen Valley club, said: “Despite the weather, everyone was able to get out and finish their rounds — although some of the later starters got pretty wet!

“The rain did dampen the occasion a little bit but we had a good turnout to say it was the first since the year 2000.

“The event is back for good. Hopefully we will be able to make it even better next year.”

Ken Purslow, chairman of Newstead Abbey Byron Society (NABS) and a main organiser of the Byron Festival, was on hand to present the prizes.

The main trophy was originally donated by the late Robert Spray, a well-known Hucknall businessman and former Independent member of Ashfield District Council. He was a former member of Leen Valley.

Mr Purslow said: “It was a big success and there was a really good response. The tournament is now back as an annual event.”