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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Victory for Spence in Cumbria Strokeplay

ROB Spence beat a top-class field to win the Cumbria County Strokeplay Championship on his home course at Furness Golf Club.

The 31-year-old carded rounds of 69 and 68 to triumph by one shot, ahead of Kendal’s James Atkinson and Silloth’s John Longcake.

It’s was Spence’s first County Strokeplay Championship victory, and the Walneyite, who jointly holds the Furness course record of 65, said: “I ripped it. I didn’t miss a fairway and struck my irons well. I managed eight birdies and just three bogeys.

“It was really pleasing because it is the first time I’ve won the county strokeplay, having played in it about eight or nine times.”

Despite the best efforts of head green-keeper Alick McKay, Saturday’s play had to be abandoned due to the torrential rain, which left the Walney links flooded.

Thankfully, Sunday proved a lot brighter, with a stiff breeze greeting golfers as they took to the fairways.

West coast veteran Longcake set an early marker for the morning round with a two-under-par 69.

This was matched by Spence, with 2011 champion Will Bowe, from Workington, one shot adrift.

Longcake repeated his 69 in the afternoon round to finish on an overall score of 138.

Spence, however, went one better, carding an afternoon 68 to post a total of 137.

Atkinson, meanwhile, was still on the course and putting together a superb second round in a bid to catch the leaders.

His afternoon 66 – just one shot off the course record – left him, like Longcake, on 138.

Eden’s Nicky Bell added to his morning 71 with a creditable 69 to finish in fourth place on 140, with up-and-coming Windermere youngster Adam Chapman fifth on 141, after rounds of 72 and 69.

Making a return to his home county, Craig Morrow, of Ulverston, finished sixth with a total score of 143, while seventh-placed Carlisle stalwart Greg Waters put together two rounds of 72 to beat his son, Kieran, by four shots.

A total of 51 golfers took part at Furness, who are celebrating 140 years of golf on the Walney course.

Cumbria golf president Cliff Heath said: “It was a good tournament, despite the loss of two rounds.

“The championship produced a worthy winner in Rob Spence.

“I know Rob has put hours in on the practice greens to enable him to achieve this success.”

Spence is set to play in a regional qualifier at Moortown Golf Club, Leeds, on Monday as he bids to reach this year’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

He said: “I’ve been working really hard on my game over the last three or four weeks and it’s all coming together at the right time.

“I think I have got a chance of making final qualifying.”

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