Golf Tour Review Royal Birkdale & Chester: Peter Roe Wins Again Over the North West’s Best
This was the second successive year that the Greencard Tour had visited the Chester area. We decided to remain in the same hotel, which is ideally located to access the large variety of shops, restaurants and bars that the historical town of Chester has to offer. There was, however, a change in the golfing programme as we now included the 2017 Open venue of Royal Birkdale and the superb Wallasey.
Neil McGarva Shows the way at Royal Birkdale
The opening round was played at Royal Birkdale in idyllic conditions, with hardly a breath of wind and glorious sunshine. This did not mean that the course was easy to play! If you missed the fairway then it was a struggle to score. Neil McGarva led the way with a superb 38 points, his straight driving paying dividends. Last year’s champion from Chester, Peter Roe started his defence with a solid 33 points. Jez Morgan, who also played in this event last year shot 29 and Ian Robinson ended the day on 28.
After driving back to Chester, we all met for a well deserved drink before taking advantage of the hotel’s great position which allowed us just a short walk into the town centre where several of the group enjoyed a lovely Italian meal.
Patrick Vaulkhard Fights Back at Stunning Wallasey
The following day we played the second round at Wallasey. Royal Birkdale certainly has the history of the hosting the Open on several occasions and is a privilege to play but Wallasey was every bit as good. The views were simply breathtaking and the condition of the course was immaculate. The enjoyment of playing here were reflected in the scores with the vast majority of the field reaching the 30 points mark and above. Patrick Vaulkhard, who had struggled in the first round came back flighting with the day’s best score of 38 points. Ian Robinson and Tim Elliott both carded 37, whilst Peter Roe shot a 35. Sue Elliott finished the day with an excellent 34.
At the half way mark Neil McGarva held the lead on 69 after finishing the second round with 31. Peter Roe was only one point behind on 68, Ian Robinson was lying third on 65 and Jez Morgan fourth on 62. Tim Elliott and Janette Roe completed the top six positions.
Peter Roe Heads the Leaderboard After Sun-drenched Conwy
The next morning, we took the scenic drive to Conwy golf club for the third round. This challenging links golf course has a stunning location on the North Wales coastline. Of all the courses we played during the week Conwy had suffered the most from the heatwave. There was not too much green to be seen away from the putting surfaces and as a result the ball was bouncing and running huge distances. This was the moment to feel as though you could hit the ball as far as Rory McIIroy or Dustin Johnson! Of course, it made club selection very difficult as you had to judge just how much run you were going to achieve with each shot.
Sue Elliott had the leading score of the day with 34 points, which was sufficient to move into the top four. Fred Parks found his form with 32 and Patrick Vaulkhard continued to move up the leaderboard with 31. A score matched by Peter Roe, which took his total after three rounds to 99 and a place at the top of the leaderboard. Ian Robinson was in second position on 95 after his third round of 30 points. Meanwhile Neil McGarva had a disappointing day on the Links, his score of 22 took his overall tally to 91 and he was now eight shots behind the leader.
In the evening we all ate at the excellent 1539 restaurant which overlooks the Chester Racecourse. It was a lovely evening to finish another very enjoyable day.
Caldy Looking Spectacular in the Sunshine
The final round was played at Caldy Golf Club, a superb course situated at the end of the Wirral Peninsula, alongside the river Dee. There are breathtaking views from the cliff top holes across the estuary towards Hilbre Islands and the coast of Wales.
The sunshine continued throughout the day which was in stark contrast to 12 months ago when we all played the final round here in the rain and wind.
The leading score of the day came from the chasing pack as Mike Singleton shot a superb 36 points, which proved enough to move him into the top 10. Last year Jez Morgan had 36 points here and this year he enjoyed another excellent round of 35. He would go on to finish in fourth position overall with a total of 124. Jez is enjoying a superb season so far and is currently leading both the Tour Points and the Order of Merit.
Jim Barton found his form with a solid score of 34 and Sue Elliott’s 32 points moved her into fifth position with a total of 122, one point and one position ahead of her husband Tim Elliott who shot 31 in the final round.
Three in for the Win on the Final Hole
It all came down to last few players on the course to see who would take the victory and it turned out to be a closely fought affair. Indeed, any one of three players could have taken the win on the last hole. Ian Robinson’s 31 points gave him an overall total of 126 and third place. Meanwhile, Neil McGarva’s approach shot to the last hole found the greenside bunker and with Peter Roe already on the green, Neil knew nothing less than an up and down would be enough. His bunker shot finished short and the following putt just missed. This left Peter two putts from short range to complete his second successive win in these parts. His overall total of 127 was just one ahead of both Ian Robinson and Neil McGarva who finished in the runner up spot through the countback ruling.
Huge congratulations to Peter on his win and subsequent qualification to the finals week.
This is a great venue with the area blessed with wonderful courses. We cannot wait to return in the future.
Final Leaderboard: Greencard Golf Tour Chester & Royal Birkdale
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