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Doherty takes top prize
LANCASHIRE star Ciaran Doherty claimed the first East Lancashire Scratch Challenge Trophy – but it was rising Nelson star Curtis Clarkin who impressed yet again to win his second Cleveland Srixon Northern Order of Merit title of an already memorable season.
For the first time the scores from the Wilpshire Trophy and Pleasington Antlers were combined to make a 72 hole World Amateur Golf Ranking event recognised by the R&A and officials at both courses were delighted with the occasion.
Saturday’s action came at Wilpshire and after a wet night the rain stopped in time for the players to shine.
And it was Doherty, who plays out of Bury, who consolidated his lead in the Northern Order of Merit when he won the Wilpshire Trophy for the second time since 2010.
The 24-year-old led from the start with a fine round of 67 then he added a 68 for a three-under-par aggregate.
He had a shot to spare over county team-mate Joe Brice, from Manchester, who posted 68 and 67 with Accrington’s Chris Nuttall claiming third place with scores of 69 and 68.
Shot of the day was an ace at the 191-yard 11th in the second round by Accrington’s Reece Cranfield.
On Sunday the field teed off in the Pleasington Antlers and it was Nelson’s Clarkin who came to the fore.
The plus one ranked Harold Ryden Trophy runner-up compiled rounds of 69 and 71 for a two-under-par aggregate to beat Lancashire County champion Mark Young, from Longridge, by a shot.
Clarkin, who also triumphed in the Hulbert Trophy at Manchester last month to enhance his reputation, rolled in four birdies in each round, offset by two bogeys in the morning and cancelled out by a quartet in the afternoon.
But it was Doherty who managed to claim the honour of becoming the first holder of the East Lancashire Scratch Challenge Trophy awarded to the player with the best combined scores over the two events.
The plus two county player, who holds a 190 point lead over Clarkin in the merit stakes, had rounds of 68 and 77 at Pleasington to finish seventh in the Antlers - but his four-round score of 278 was enough to see him claim the prize.
He said: “I’ve hit a good run of form as I did round about the same time last year.
“It’s great to win two trophies in successive days.”