Practice makes perfect for Lander

Union match play champion Chris Lander (Bradley Hall)
Union match play champion Chris Lander (Bradley Hall)

A disastrous performance in a Bradley Hall competition a week earlier made Chris Lander get in some serious practice for last Sunday’s Halifax-Huddersfield Union match play title.

And the 27-year-old’s efforts paid handsome dividends with a 5 & 4 victory over Edward Battye in the 36-hole head-to-head at Fixby.

Former Halifax GC member Lander played solidly all day, in contrast to a week earlier at the Holywell Green club, where he is now a member.

“I played Sam Bridges at the Bradley Hall finals day and he gave me a good beating, 6 & 5 I think,” said Lander.

“So I spent the week practicing to make sure I didn’t play so badly again.”

Lander, the store manager at Stadium Golf in Huddersfield, was foiling the bid of Bradley Park’s Battye to lift the JR Crawshaw Memorial Trophy for a second time following his success in 2012.

Fog at Huddersfield Golf Club delayed the start by 40 minutes but conditions after that were excellent with the greens firm and true.

“I was two up after 18 and four or five up after 27. I coasted home from there,” said Lander, who had his dad Steve on the bag.

It might not have been quite such plain sailing had he not sunk tricky putts for par at holes nine, 10 and 11 second time around.

“If I had missed those putts, lost the holes and then Ed had won another we would have been near enough level,” he said.

Lander, originally from Lancashire, was left to celebrate the biggest win of his career in the BM Howarth-sponsored event.

He was a very worthy winner after a tough route to the final which saw him beat Dewsbury’s Rob Speight 2 & 1, clubmate Richard Broadley 4 & 3, holder Brad Tupman on the 19th and this year’s stroke play champion Graham McLean 4 & 3.

He said he had been fairly calm through the final. “The speech was the hardest bit,” he said.

“It was nice to sit down afterwards with a beer and see the names on the trophy, knowing I would be alongside those winners.”

The junior match play final at the same venue was won by Hebden Bridge’s Henry Butterworth, who beat Saddleworth’s Ben Pullen 6 & 5.