Yorkshire golf: Fullwood’s last-hole birdie helps Sheffield to dramatic YIDU League title triumph

WATH’S Gary Fullwood was Sheffield’s title-winning hero as he holed a 15ft birdie putt which ultimately clinched the Yorkshire Inter District Union championship.

Fullwood was one down playing the last in his singles and earned a half which gave Sheffield an 18-18 tie with defending champions York at Hickleton GC.

Neither Fullwood nor his colleagues – including player-captain Richard Hodgkinson – knew at the time that it would be enough to win the crown, but once news came in that Halifax-Huddersfield had lost 24-12 against Bradford at Northcliffe the celebrations were able to begin.

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Sheffield were behind 8-4 after the foursomes against York although Lindrick player Hodgkinson admits this did not come as a surprise.

“I didn’t expect us to be any better than 6-6,” he revealed. “We are much stronger in the singles than the foursomes and were 9-3 down after the foursomes in our one loss of the season [against Teesside].

“Quite a few of the afternoon games went down the 18th, and Abbeydale’s Tim Brind, playing at No 8, actually chipped in to win his game.

“At this point York didn’t need very many to get over the line and we needed to win most of them – and we won four of the last five and halved the other.”

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One of the late singles wins came from Hodgkinson himself who had to step into the team when Hillsborough’s Dominic Moon withdrew with a back injury.

After winning his foursomes match alongside Lewis Hollingworth (Tankersley Park), he secured an emphatic 6&5 singles victory, which enabled him to gather with the rest of Sheffield’s players to watch Fullwood complete his match.

Hodgkinson says he only advises players about a match’s overall position when asked – and Fullwood asked.

“You wait and see if people want to know and he made a point of asking on the 18th tee,” said Hodgkinson.

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With the match tied at 17-17 and the Wath player one down, he knew he had to win the hole if Sheffield were to stand any chance of the title.

“It’s a par-5 and he played it perfectly,” continued the captain. “A lovely drive, nice second and a third to about 15ft.

“We were in a huddle and all of us agreed if ever we wanted a man for a 15ft putt it would be Gary – and he completely nervelessly rolled it in.”

Hodgkinson had spent a break at Loch Lomond leading up to the season’s climax and said: “All the value of a nice few days in Scotland, relaxing at a luxurious spa, have been wiped out. But it’s worth it. That is the most exciting Inter District League there’s ever been by a mile.”