Strickland three clear at McGregor Trophy

Charlie Strickland. Picture by Leaderboard Photography
Charlie Strickland. Picture by Leaderboard Photography
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HAM MANOR Golf Club’s Charlie Strickland has bounced back from injury to take a three-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the McGregor Trophy at Wallasey, Cheshire.

The 16-year-old had to withdraw from his last major event with a back injury – but he proved his return to fitness by adding four-under 68 to his opening 69 in the English under-16 boys’ open stroke play championship.

He had five birdies, and just one bogey, and said: “I kept the ball in play, kept patient and let the birdies come on the holes where I could take advantage.”

Strickland has played in this event on three previous occasions and has never made the cut until now. His plan for today’s final 36 holes is simple: “I’ll stick to my game plan, try and focus on my game and see where it goes.”

He is enjoying good form this season, having finished third in the South Eastern junior championship, and fifth in the Peter McEvoy Trophy. He also played in this year’s under-16 international against Spain, winning both his matches on the second day.

His closest rival is Norfolk’s Toby Briggs (Dunston Hall) who also scored 68, adding it to his opening score of level par 72.

Briggs, another under-16 international, had an eagle three on the long 14th as well as four birdies, including one on the 18th to sign off his round.

His score achieved his aim of getting well into contention in the championship. The 15-year-old said: “After yesterday a lot of players were quite far ahead and I felt there was a bit of pressure that shouldn’t have been there. I had to get all those shots back today.”

Ireland’s Thomas Mulligan currently holds third place on three-under (70, 71), while Jack Ainscough (Hartlepool) is a shot behind (72, 70) and Benjamin Jones (Brampton Heath) is level par (72, 72).

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