FORTUNE might favour the brave, but it was good play rather than good luck which Leeds’s junior team were urged to seek after surging 11 shots clear at the halfway stage of the Yorkshire junior six-man team championship at Pike Hills GC.
Team organiser Mick Fisher, of Garforth, counselled them not to throw caution to the wind with every score counting and Leeds managed to hold off Harrogate’s determined fightback to triumph by five shots.
It meant they had added a successful defence of the title to the Yorkshire Inter District Union Junior League championship won earlier this month.
“I got them all together and said that all we needed was six solid rounds and nothing fancy,” said Fisher.
“I said that nobody need take any chances, just get the par where you can and don’t take any risks by chasing eagles and birdies.
“The players are very brave and bold at this stage, but I said to them ‘just think of the team before every shot you take’.
“I said ‘when you are assessing a shot just think, would the team appreciate a four or a six’ and they all played well.”
Woolley Park’s Matty Lees, who was pivotal in the league success with 15 points from a possible 16, unfortunately had to contend with a problem with his back in the afternoon.
He shot an unexpectedly high, for him, 79 and earned Fisher’s praise for his determined effort.
“He did really well to shoot 79 and I suspect if it had been any other competition he would probably have walked in,” he commented, “but he knew that we needed his score.”
If Lees had scratched the team’s score would have been void.
Instead, he and team-mates Marcus Shepherd (Moortown), Mid Yorks’ Todd Hughes, George Heath and Dan Bradbury (both Wakefield) and Howley Hall’s Tom North amassed a 903 aggregate for the 36-hole event.
“It is a bit young for Mathew to be suffering with a bad back,” added Fisher. “I said to him that he had better get it properly looked at. They play too much golf unfortunately.”
Heath had the second-best aggregate total with 146 (74 72), the accolade taken by York’s James Cass (73 72).
North had the best first-round score, of 70, and Charlie Daughtrey the best in the afternoon, also 70, for Sheffield, who placed third.
Fisher expressed his admiration for the Harrogate team’s second-round efforts.
“I was very impressed with Harrogate’s performance,” he said. “All the other teams must’ve felt a bit down in the morning when we go out with an 11-shot lead, but they had a go at it and kept us looking over our shoulders.
“We wobbled a bit, but came through.”