Northamptonshire duo are kings of the county set

Northamptonshire duo are kings of the county set

07/10/2021

Northamptonshire duo Simon Lilly and Michael Campbell did not so much consolidate their position as leaders of the PGA Inter-County Championship in playing the final round but turned it into a victory march.

Having ended the fourball round of the 36-hole tournament three shots clear of the field, they doubled that advantage in the foursomes to post a 16 under par total of 126 and claim the £4,000 first prize.

And given their county is the home of the British Grand Prix, it’s not stretching things to suggest they lapped most of the 28-strong field as opposed to leaving them in their slipstream.

In doing so, they ensured Northamptonshire won the trophy, named after former Ryder Cup star Dave Thomas and presented to them by PGA Captain-elect Sarah Bennett, for the first time.

In addition, they negotiated the tournament’s foursomes round without mishap; a format that, as Lilly acknowledged, is a potential golfing banana skin when it comes to squandering or overhauling a three-shot lead.

“Foursomes is always a funny game,” he said, mindful that the chasing pack comprised six rivals rather than a solitary challenger.

“But we got off to a lovely start. We started birdie, birdie, which was ideal as it gave us more of a cushion.”

It even allowed them to record their sole bogey of the tournament at the next hole, the par-four third. Thereafter normal service was resumed.

Birdies followed at the fourth and fifth holes and three more were recorded on the back nine, Campbell signing off in style (above) after his partner had set him up with a pin-high approach.

Lilly, who has recently joined Wellingborough Golf Club, was even closer three holes prior to that when he came within a foot of emulating the ace Campbell recorded at the third 24 hours earlier.

On this occasion, backspin resulted in the ball retreating from its target but, unsurprisingly, Campbell holed yet another birdie putt. All of which typified the pair’s golfing symbiosis.

Kicking on: Simon Lilly reacts to a par-saving putt on the 17th

“We gel really well,” added Lilly. “I’ve known Michael for years. I used to play golf with his dad and we know each other’s game inside out.

“We felt if we could keep the ball in play and hole some putts we’d have a really good chance. It’s worked out really well.”

So well, in fact, that their domination resulted in their closest pursuers battling for second place. In the event it was shared by Nottinghamshire’s Andy Willey and Thomas Warnock and the Lancashire duo of Phillip Kelly and Simon Lucas.

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