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Ian's the club champion - again!

GOLF: IAN Hardman is a hat-trick hero - after winning the Accrington Golf Club Championship for the third year running.


IAN Hardman is a hat-trick hero - after winning the Accrington Golf Club Championship for the third year running.

The event is played over 36 holes and the 28-year-old didn't think he had a chance after losing to one of the juniors in a knock-out the day before. And it didn't seem to be going his way in the first round as he was six over par with four holes to play.

"Luckily I birdied the next three holes to get back in contention," said Ian.

Ian, who has been playing golf since he was 17 years old, was one of the favourites along with youngster Jason Ashworth and former Observer Shield champion Ian Ready.

"I went round in 73 in the morning and Jason and Paul Biggins were on 72." However, he shot a 70 in the afternoon to give him his biggest win yet - a three-shot victory.

"I didn't think it was my day after the first round but then in the afternoon I knew luck was on my side. On hole number five, I was going round with Paul Wright and Ian Ready and they both hit it over the ditch off the tee. I thought I would try and do the same and I heard Ian say 'It has gone out of bounds'.

"Although it had, it hit the railway line on the other side and bounced back onto the green and I birdied it! I couldn't believe it."

Ian beat Trevor Foster by one shot in 2000 and last year he beat Jason Ashworth by one shot. This time, Ryan Foster, Trevor's son, was second with rounds of 74 and 72.

It has been a good year for Ian who qualified for the Harold Ryden Trophy for the first time and enjoyed one round when he shot a stunning 65 - five under par. However in the quarter-finals he lost out to Michael Hunt from Pleasington. "I just didn't play well but I want another go."

His aim now is to get down to scratch and secure a Lancashire berth. And he is also teaching his eight-year-old son Joshua to play. "I take him to the driving range to have a go," he said.

But Ian has now got to put all his energy in trying to make it fourth time lucky next year.


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