Joe earns late birthday gift at Fulford



Joe Earnshaw gave himself the ideal birthday present after winning The Lombard Trophy regional final at Fulford to seal his place at Gleneagles.

The Scarborough North Cliff Golf Club amateur (pictured right) teamed up with PGA Professional Fraser Kelley to card a seven-under-par round of 65, creating a  three-way tie at the top along with Graeme Lisle and Stewart Long (Carlisle) and former finalists Nigel Parkinson and David Briggs of Sheffield’s Renishaw Park.

But Earnshaw, who turned 51 the day before the event, and Kelley won on countback after an impressive back nine.

The North Yorkshire duo will now play in the £43,600 grand final which will be held at Gleneagles in Scotland - the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup - on September 3-4.

Earnshaw, a factory shift manager who plays off a handicap of six, admitted he never thought he would get the chance to play at a venue like Gleneagles.

He said: “It was a nice late birthday present for me! Just to play at Fulford was a great experience.

“But to make it to the next level and get the chance to appear at Gleneagles is extra special.”

Earnshaw admitted he did not think he and Kelley had done enough to win.

He added: “We had a terrific back nine where Fraser absolutely hammered it.

“We had three birdies and an eagle between the ninth and the 12th holes.

“Then we really went for it. But it still didn’t feel like seven-under would be enough.

“We had a long wait thinking someone was going to beat us, but it didn’t happen.

“We wobbled a bit and things got twitchy, but it we did enough.”

Kelley was delighted to get through to the final for the first time.

He said: “I’ve never played at Gleneagles so that’s going to be something new for me.

“Joe played really well. But it took us a while to get going.

“We were actually on level par as we got to the ninth hole and it all took off from there.”

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