Young faces a battle for Merit

SEAN Doherty produced more magic to win the Pendle Witch Trophy at Clitheroe and take over top spot in the Cleveland Srixon Northern Order of Merit from long-time leader Mark Young.

The former professional from Bury, who regained his amateur status this year, has chalked up five victories since mid-July to move 55 points in front of his Longridge rival.

And Doherty took advantage of absence of the three-time merit winner who was representing Lancashire in the England County Champion of Champions tournament at Woodhall Spa where he finished runner-up on countback.

The pair will slug it out in the final fixture at Hillside on October 7, rearranged from April after the course flooded, and with 150 points at stake Young, left, can still claim the title.

Doherty came up on the rails to win at Clitheroe after a first round 74 left him four shots off the pace set by the host club’s Mark Ashworth. But he started his afternoon round with an eagle then added three birdies on the home stretch for a 69 to post a one-over-par total.

Ashworth settled for second after a 75 as Doherty’s younger brother Ciaran finished a shot back to consolidate his third place in the merit.

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