Heaps of praise for Martin

MARTIN Heap edged out good friend Stephen Harrington for victory in the Captain’s Prize, the latest golfing major at Saddleworth Golf Club.

The pair occupied the top two positions in the 36-hole event, with only one shot separating the first three players.

Martin, 67, emerged the winner to claim his second individual major – the other was the Committee Cup – and third overall as he and his friend Stephen won the Ladcastle Trophy, a pairs event.

He had rounds of 78-9-69 and 74-9-65 for a two-round total of 134, one clear of Stephen whose 135 comprised 75-5-70 and 70-5-65.

Stephen Pullen was third, also with nett 135 after nett rounds of 67 and 68 off his one handicap. He was five-under-par gross.

Martin, who used to own a partitioning and office refurbishment company, has seen his handicap reduced to eight.

He said: “I have started playing better and upped my game in the last month.

“I have changed a few things to my game. I am my own coach and it evidently hasn’t worked in the past!”

Martin added it is refreshing to still be able to win a major.

He explained: “I am an older timer, but have the guile and managed to get round easily.

“The dry conditions helped as it enabled people like myself to get extra distance, but you still know how to play them.”

Martin used to play squash competitively for Tame Valley, but took up golf in his thirties.

“I tried other sports, but golf was the only one that allowed me to switch off from the pressures of my work,” he explained.

The first-day prize went to Andy Li with nett 65 from Ben Pullen and Nigel Rhodes, both 66.

Second-round honours went to Alex Jackson with 64.

Professional Andy Earlam and member Mike Noble narrowly missed out on a trip to Portugal in the regional qualifier for the Lombard Trophy.

Charlie Walker and Nigel Hughes, who were winner and runner-up in the club qualifier, were unavailable for the regional qualifier at Fairhaven so third-placed Mike, a new member, received an unexpected call.

They were the clubhouse leaders on four-under-par for much of the day only to be beaten by Phil Archer and Garry Houston, both former European Tour players. They eventually finished third.

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