ROBBIE Spence is preparing to achieve one of his golfing ambitions when he steps out onto the fairways of Royal Lytham And St Annes Golf Club.

The Furness Golf Club member has qualified for the prestigious Lytham Trophy amateur tournament, which tees off at 7.30am tomorrow, after getting his handicap down to the required level late in 2017.

Spence is in the sixth group and will begin his first round 50 minutes later, and the Walney Islander is relishing the prospect of getting to pit himself against some of the best amateurs around and the testing course which has hosted the Open Championship 11 times.

“It's something I've always wanted to play in, but my handicap has never been low enough to get into the competition,” said Spence.

“You either have to be off plus-three or better, or have a world ranking. I got to plus-three at the end of last year, so that's why I applied to play and got in.

“There is quite a strong field because there are a couple of good English lads, like Matthew Jordan who is 17th in the world. It would be nice to mix it and see how far away I am, really.”

Spence warmed up for the Lytham Trophy with victory in the 36-hole Scratch Open at Silloth last Saturday, triumphing by eight shots in conditions which saw the field playing down wind on the front nine and into the wind on the back nine as opposed to it usually being the other way around.

Being able to master those tricky conditions could well prove helpful at Royal Lytham this weekend on a course which is regarded by many pundits as one of the more demanding links on the Open rota.

Spence has already experienced the Fylde Coast course, having been able to play a practise round there last year, and took plenty of encouragement from how he played on that occasion.

“I know the golf course is really tough, so it's just plodding your way around, and minimising the

big numbers and mistakes,” said Spence.

“Chris Kendall, who plays at Furness, is also a member a Lytham and we went for a practise round after Christmas.

“I did all right then; I shot five-over in the practise round, but that was off different tees and we'll be playing off the championship tees.

“But I'd take five-over as a starter, then you know where you're going and where you sit.”

Spence is hoping a good performance here will set him up nicely for Open qualifying, which takes place on June 25 and will see him in action at either Fairhaven or West Lancashire Golf Club trying to earn a place in the field for this year's tournament at Carnoustie.

Furness have paid for his entry to the qualifying competition, while Ian Murray and Jason Jefferson have both helped out covering expenses for this weekend.

Spence will be involved in Cumbria's opening match of the year against Lancashire at Eden Golf Club later this month as well, although will miss the County Championship due to spending some time away with his family.

The Lytham Trophy is foremost in his mind at the moment though and Spence admits to some trepidation ahead of the competition, which sees him in a group with former England youth international Arrun Singh Brar and world-ranked Irishman Tiarnan McLarnon.

“At the moment, I've got so much confidence in my game, but this is a different level to what I'm used to,” said Spence

“I am a bit nervous, to be honest, and I don't normally get nervous. I just don't want to be shooting myself out of the competition after the first round.”



Ladies: Bon Accord Medal: Winner: J Trelore 95 - 20 = 75; Runner-up: D Herbert 106 - 27 = 79; 3rd: G Punton 94 – 13 = 81.

Men's: Midweek comp: Winner: Kevin Dyer. 37pts. Runner-up: Andy Herbert 35pts.

Senior Spring Open: Winners: J Redman and A Coyles 44pts (Grange Fell).

Runners-up: N Tippins and R Graham 43pts (Furness and Barrow) 3rd: S Butler and A Sutton 42pts.

4th: P Stazaker and R Murray 40pts (Uttoxeter GC) 5th: C Rocks and A Edmondson 40pts (Furness and Barrow) 6th: P Burton and M Morrison 40pts (Dunnerholme GC)

Nearest the pin 2nd: I McBride (Ulverston); Nearest the Pin 6th: B Hayton (Kendal); Nearest the pin 10th: A Edmondson (Barrow).

Charlie Carr Pairs and knockout qualifier. Winners: J Capstick and J Truman 45pts; Runners-up: R Tippett and D Sharp 44pts; 3rd: A Corkill and J Woodhouse 43pts ; Nearest the pin. N Doherty. Knockout qualifying score 38pts.


Carlsberg Singles (Medal): 1st. C Postlethwaite 83-16-67; 2nd A Paisley. 79-10- 69 cpo; 3rd. D Fletcher. 82-13-69 Twos. A Paisley.


Ladies medal: Div 1 Tracey Garrett 96-18= 78; Kath Woodruff 102-19=83.

Div 2 Christine Bold 103-25=78; Christine Bleakley 114-32=82.

Thompson Cup qualifier: 1st David Wright 77-9= 68; 2nd John Bolton 74-6= 68; 3rd Paul Eastwood 80-11= 69.