Golf: Lancaster pair crowned national champions

Lorraine Birch and Julie Norcliffe. Picture: Leaderboard Photography.Lorraine Birch and Julie Norcliffe. Picture: Leaderboard Photography.
Lorraine Birch and Julie Norcliffe. Picture: Leaderboard Photography.
A pair of Lancashire golfers have been crowned national champions after winning the England Golf Trust National Pairs Stableford finals at King’s Norton Golf Club in Worcestershire.

Lorraine Birch and Julie Norcliffe, from Lancaster Golf Club, combined to score 40 points in the betterball competition which in the last five years has raised £20,000 to support young people who need financial help to play the game.

This year alone the total amount raised will be around £4,000.

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A birdie on the 17th from Birch was enough to see the Lancaster pair finish one shot ahead of Anne Beckett and Shelagh Rafferty, from Pavenham Park in Bedfordshire, and Chevin duo Libby Harrison and Dawn Gray.

The Bedfordshire pair took second place on countback.

“I’m overjoyed,” said ten-handicapper Birch.

“We were delighted to get through to the final but didn’t really know what to expect once we got here.

“The secret today was that we both putted well.

“I think the key was playing a practice round yesterday because that got us used to the course and the pace of the greens.

“That really helped us both. It’s awesome to have won.”

“It has been fantastic,” agreed 21-handicapper Norcliffe.

“I’ve only been playing five years, so I felt a little bit out of my depth, particularly as I haven’t been playing well recently.

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“But playing with Lorraine made it easier, she helped to settle me down.”

“Once we drive home, we’re going to celebrate with a large gin and tonic, or two.”

“It has been another good year for the tournament,” said Trustee, Ian Watkins.

“130 clubs took part in qualifying, with 28 here at the final today.

“The money we’ve raised from entry fees and donations will make a big difference to a lot of young people.”