Yorkshire golf: Knaresborough GC look to build on Sixth Division Team championship win

Yorkshire Sixth Division Team champions Knaresborough GC with YUGC president Jonathan Plaxton.
Yorkshire Sixth Division Team champions Knaresborough GC with YUGC president Jonathan Plaxton.

KNARESBOROUGH GC far exceeded their ambitions when they won Yorkshire's Sixth Division Team championship at Normanton GC.

They triumphed by an overwhelming 17 shots, but Ian Backhouse - a member of their three-man team - said their sole focus had been to get among the top six who qualified for the Fifth Division Team championship.

Having done that in style as event winners, they will head in to Wednesday's Fifth Division event at Hillsborough GC in confident mood.

"We had been down to Normanton for a practice round and the wind was blowing at 30mph and, having never played the course before, we all struggled with our scoring," said Backhouse.

"We were happy that the forecast was better for the competition - sunny, warm, but still wind gusts up to 20 mph.

"The greenkeeping staff at Normanton had put in a lot of effort on Tuesday and by Wednesday the greens were significantly faster and, combined with some very difficult pin positions, this changed the scoring potential significantly."

Despite the tough test laid out for them, scratch player Jason Taylor laid the foundations for Knaresborough's victory with an opening 73. Backhouse shot 81 and the third member of the group, Nathan Seal, 80.

"After round one we were surprised to find ourselves in second place as we thought our scores were too high," added Backhouse. "However, it seemed that everyone else had struggled as well."

Even their high placing at halfway did not alter their thinking, Backhouse revealing: "At lunch we decided to give it a real push as it seemed an opportunity to see how well we could do - but our main aim was to qualify for the fifth division."

Taylor added a 74 to win the award for best 36-hole total and was complemented by his team-mates' scores, Seal and Backhouse both carding 77.

"Nathan and I both improved on our morning scores having been determined at lunch to get closer to Jason," said Backhouse. "This all added up to us pulling well ahead of all the other teams and winning by 17 shots - which again came as a big surprise to us.

"Obviously we were very pleased to win given our first visit to Normanton not going that well on the Monday."

Seal commented: "It was a solid two rounds by Jason that gave Ian and I the chance to improve in the afternoon. We all struck the ball well, but Ian and I took a while to find our game around the greens."

Taylor commented: "It was as well as I have struck the ball this year and I am looking forward to the Division Five Championship."