Major win a ‘surprise’ for Ian in Zacharias Cup

IAN Harrop’s major victory in Crompton and Royton Golf Club’s Zacharias Cup came as a complete surprise.

“I have had health issues and not been playing well as I had other things on my mind. And before the round I said to my playing partners I was not up for the competition,” explained the 52-year-old abseiling instructor from Royton.

That was reinforced when Ian began his round with three bogeys, far from a perfect start.

After that everything clicked into place as Ian posted a four-under-par nett 66 from his 11 handicap.

“It was fate and one of those days when everything went in. I holed three times from off the green,” he continued.

Ian admitted it was a dream round as he had previously only played once to his handicap.

This time on the back nine he had a birdie two of the 14th and seven gross pars. The only two shots dropped were the 12th which is stroke index one, the toughest hole on the course.

To make it extra special, Ian added the par-70 course played to a standard scratch score of 72 that day because of the wet conditions.

“I didn’t expect to win and had simply been excited to get my second two of the season at the 14th when I holes a 14-foot putt from off the green,” he said.

This was Ian’s second major at the High Barn club, where he has been a member of six years, as last year he lifted the Hall Cup.

In fact Ian, whose lowest handicap has been 7.8, has the distinction of having won majors at three different clubs – Springfield Park, Blackley and Crompton and Royton.

Ian, who took up golf after stopping playing football for Chaddertonians, finished three shots ahead of runner-up Carl Ringland (81-12-69) who was second on the card from third-placed Scott Bloor (75-6-69) and Martyn Buckley (80-11-69).

The lowest gross score was 69 from Gary Melling.

ANDREW Bottomley was also a major winner with victory in the Veterans’ Trophy.

And it was a perfect birthday present for Andrew, an area sales manager for Walkers Crisps, as the following week he celebrated his 65th birthday.

The competition was decided after an 18-hole play-off after Andrew, Paul Finigan and Charles Lowe finished with the same score.

The play-off was not so close as Andrew’s 75-8-67 was well clear of Paul’s 80-9-71 and 93-16-77 from Charles.

“I was only two over par gross with three holes to play and knew I was quite a distance in front so played conservatively over the last three holes when I knew I had won unless I mucked up,” he explained.

Andrew added he has played consistently this season and gave the key to his success.

“I have never been a massive hitter and you lose distance when you get older, but I have always hit it straight,” he explained.

Andrew, who had won three previous majors at Crompton and Royton, only took in his late forties.

“I took up golf aged 48 when my eight-year-old son began playing after Tiger Woods became his hero,” he explained.

Andrew, who lives in Shaw, plays off a handicap of eight but has been as low as six.

His son Jack Bottomley-Clift, however, has eclipsed him. He is a former Lancashire junior player and currently plays off one.

Andrew recently celebrated his 65th birthday by taking Jack and six other golfing friends for a day out at Woodsome Hall, Yorkshire.

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