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Shipley blow hot to bag Bradford title
Shipley confirmed they are a new force to be reckoned with after a breath-taking 26-shot win in the Bradford Union Team Championship at Woodhall Hills.
The Beckfoot club – who have added Rob Hillas and, more recently, last year’s Karl Curran golfer of the year Will Whiteoak to their ranks – put their name on the trophy for the first time since 1991.
They coped best with the strong wind and showers to leave favourites Bingley St Ives trailing in runners-up spot.
With Andy Ingham and the experienced Jamie Moun-tain making up their four-man team in the 36-hole all-scores-to-count medal, Shipley laid down an early marker with an aggregate 300 for the first round.
It could quite easily have been less had Mountain not posted a nine at the par five 16th but the Bradford Union player still managed to card an impressive 74.
Hosts Woodhall, who were dealt a blow when Matthew Atter pulled out through injury the night before, were second at the halfway stage with 310 and St Ives in third on 312.
Words of encouragement from Shipley skipper Brian Illingworth – “I told the lads they were doing brilliantly and to carry on and play with the team spirit they had displayed all year” – had the desired effect as his side improved their aggregate by nine shots in the second round.
Ingham in particular upped his game, shooting a 71 after an opening 77. That included an eagle three on the difficult uphill par five sixth and four further birdies.
Former pro Hillas, who also shot a second-round 71, said: “The team were keeping up to date with each other’s scores and encouraging each other to keep going as we knew Bingley would come out fighting in the afternoon.”
St Ives did improve but their 305 second-round score was not enough.
Mountain, who came third in the best individual gross category behind winner James Firth (Bradford Moor) and runner-up Hillas, said: “Woodhall’s captain Greg Dunn did a great job in setting up the course.
“Everyone was talking about the pin positions but when you play in events like this you have to expect tough pins.
“I don’t think he was quite expecting the wind to be as bad as it was. The pin on the 12th was something else – it was genuinely like playing at Augusta National!
“But I thought the course was in good order and if you played sensible then a good score was there to be had.”
The top eight teams remain in the Division One Championship, with discussions taking place about expanding the number of sides next season.
BRADFORD UNION TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (at Woodhall Hills):
1 Shipley 591 (R Hillas 75, 71; A Ingham 77, 71; J Mountain 74, 73; W Whiteoak 74, 76); 2 Bingley St Ives 617 (D Bairstow 81, 79; T Brushwood 78, 75; M Evans 80, 75; A Town 73, 76); 3 Woodhall Hills 619 (G Broom 78, 82; C Dunn 83, 78; J Torbett 74, 77; M Weighman 75, 72); 4 Bradford Moor (B Barker 79, 79; J Firth 70, 75; C Suddards 85, 82; I Walker 88, 77); 5 Skipton 639 (G Aspey 82, 79; C Payne 73, 77; M Ryder 83, 88; G Stocker 83, 74); 6 Bradford 639 (A Bean 78, 77; J Flesher 75, 76; D Gill 83, 84; W Turner 79, 87); 7 Keighley 644 (A Fitzpatrick 80, 83; C Hey 83, 72; C Lonsdale 82, 82; A Robertson 84, 78); 8 Cleckheaton 645 (C Green 72, 75; D Hall 84, 77; J Lavin 79, 84; A Mear 83, 91).
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