Observer Golf Shield 2006
PAUL Biggins aims to be flying high after Sunday's Observer Golf Shield final.
The aircraft fitter takes on two-times champion Gary Byrne at Whalley GC.
And the 47-year-old Accrington golfer is hoping it is second time lucky after losing to Ian Ready at Whalley in the Observer final in 2000.
"I am going to be nervous but I am really excited and am looking to go one better than last time," said Paul, who will have a strong contingent from Accrington supporting him.
"I have played with Gary in a four-man team event a few years ago but have never come up directly against him.
"He is a good player and I get on well with him but we will have to see how it goes on Sunday."
Paul, whose handicap is four, will have fellow Accrington golfer Andy Lewis as his caddy and he is hoping he keeps him calm.
"Hopefully he will have a good influence on me. I have known him a lot of years."
Byrne, who has a colourful past being a former professional jockey and a motocross rider, won the crown in 2002, beating Barry Meagre, and 2004, needing the 19th hole to see off Paul Swann.
The Great Harwood golfer is desperate to make it a hat-trick of titles, especially for his friend Rod Rothwell, who is his caddy on Sunday.
"Rod has been my friend for 25-years and he got the go-ahead this week to go to Australia in February," said Byrne. "I will be lost without him but I wish him and his wife Maxine and son Bradley all the luck in the world.
"I will miss them so it would be nice to send him off with the Observer Golf Shield.
"He is my 15th club and it will be extra special for me to win this time."
Gary doesn't shy away from the limelight and can cope with any amount of support.
"I wouldn't be nervous if there were 500 watching! I just love the pressure and I have been practising at Whalley this week.
"This is the biggest competition for amateur golfers in the area and I love it.
"You can play anyone from a one handicap to a 24 and you never know what you are going to get.
"I have been playing quite well this season but you just never know on the day.
"I would love to get three titles though and the more who see it, the merrier."