Lancashire and Suffolk turn tempest into a walk in the park

Lancashire and Suffolk turn tempest into a walk in the park


Bovines can sometimes be found chomping the verdant fairways of Sutton Coldfield Golf Club’s course due to its location in an ancient public park.

The weather during the opening day of the PGA Inter-County Championship, however, made the venue more conducive to visits from creatures equipped with webbed feet as opposed to cloven hooves. Ducks.

Stair-rodding rain blown almost horizontal by powerful gusts of wind presented conditions almost beyond challenging for the 29 pairs vying for the £4,000 first prize.

So, it was perhaps no surprise that Steve Parry (above) and Simon Lucas representing Lancashire, a county that is home to Manchester, a city renowned for precipitation, should end the first of two rounds sharing the lead.

Suffolk, by contrast, is more associated with tractors and Constable than inclement weather but its duo comprising Sam Forgan(below) and Alastair Hall did not appear unduly inconvenienced by the gale-assisted downpour.

So much so that they also weighed in with an eight-under par return of 64 to occupy pole position with their northern rivals after the fourball leg of the tournament.

That parity of score was represented by their progress round a course that is regularly rated among the top 100 in England: both reached the turn in five-under and followed up with three birdies on the back nine.

Their lead going into the foursomes on day two, however, is slender one, especially in a format in which fortunes can change with bewildering rapidity.

Essex and Hampshire are a shot behind while a quartet comprising Kent, BB&O, Leicestershire and Yorkshire are two adrift on six-under.

Kent, BB&O, Yorkshire, Suffolk and Essex (twice) are previous winners of this competition but the chances of defending champions Northamptonshire and Worcestershire, their predecessors, prevailing for a second time appear remote after they posted respective totals of level par and one-under.

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