A wonderful warm welcome from the Captain and the sun greeted players to the tee for round one of the 2016 Captains prize. With kind conditions throughout the day, a light sunny breeze, combined with beautifully prepared greens, the course was there for the taking. Each competitor was treated? to a ball stamped with the Captains face on it, with many a smile as the face was blasted off the tee.
Tony Archer got proceedings underway, starting with a bogey Archer would take the clubhouse lead with a steady 71 before playing partner Alan Rigby signed for a one better 70. The first early notable score to be posted came from Simon Ness. After a disappointing front 9 aside from a birdie at 7, Ness turned up the heat on the back to shoot a hugely impressive 37 and sign for a strong round of 67. His lead only lasted 1 hour however as the unmissable Ryan Edghill took over, shooting 66 aided by an eagle at 10 and birdie at 17. Edghills lead was threatened briefly by Simon Begley who after 17 holes stood 5 better than his handicap. A birdie run at 6 and 7 and a steadily controlled back nine had set Begleys round up before unfortunately finding trouble off the 18th tee to finish one off the lead, with 67, still very much in contention for tomorrows final round. Defending champion Phil Jones is in the hunt and hungry to defend his title after a 69 and joint 4th overall.
The chances that a Simon will take this Years prize are better than even as 4 out of the 5 competing posted 70 or better and only players called Simon shot 67, joint 2nd place. Best gross Simon went to Simon Pay who signed for a 69 gross, pipped for best gross on the day by Junior Captain Sam Long. Names beginning with S are dominating proceedings. Long played the stronger back nine in 2 under gross to cancel out his 1 over front, a round that included 4 birdies, 2 of those being 2s. Long and Edghill are joint overnight leaders alongside Dangerous Dave Langley. 5 under his handicap after 10 thanks to a carefully constructed round containing a single birdie Langley was frustratingly unable to break the back nine and will in particular rue his finish on 18.
So the first round closes with a surprising CSS of 70 having delighted and destroyed so many players, all who will be back tomorrow to compete for the ultimate Helsby prize and a place in history.
You can view the 1st round scoresheet Here