Observer Shield Final 2004
Gary Byrne (Great Harwood) beat Paul Swan (Green Howarth) on the first extra hole
"A GAME good enough to grace Sky television," was how one onlooker described the final of the 2004 Observer Shield.
And any television viewers would have been as hooked as the watching 60-strong crowd who followed the game from hole to hole at Accrington Golf Club.
There was nothing between Great Harwood's Gary Byrne - the 2002 winner - and Green Howarth's Paul Swan.
And the nail-biting finale went to the 19th hole before Gary, 43, after going out of bounds, pulled off what he deemed an "impossible shot" to clinch the coveted trophy.
"It's fantastic to win it two years out of three," said Gary, whose handicap is five, and took a gamble by buying some new irons last week. "I wasn't driving well which is usually the best part of my game but eventually I came through.
"It was a great game and was nice to get compliments off people like Trevor Foster who said it was the best game he had watched.
"To win it once can be put down to luck but to win it twice shows it is more than that."
Laid back Paul, meanwhile, was disappointed to lose but, at 24, knows he will have other chances.
"I didn't really feel the pressure going round which is perhaps why I didn't win," said Paul who plays off four.
"I am disappointed but someone has to lose and it was always going to be hard. I missed a shot on the ninth which would have put me two-up but it wasn't to be. It was a fantastic game, I have known Gary a long time and am glad for him."
Gary has known Paul since he was about 12 when Gary was a member at Green Howarth. He has watched Paul get better and better and both were prepared for a battle.
Gary had his caddy Rod Rothwell on his side - the man who caddied when he won it two years ago although he did run over Gary's ball in this year's quarter-final! - and Paul had his dad Jim caddying for him.
And it was the Great Harwood golfer, who works as a driver at Warburtons, who got off to the better start going one-up on the par three first hole on a boiling day.
It was honours even after that until Paul birdied the par five fifth hole and kept his cool to draw level.
On the sixth, as the tension built, Gary used his spare shot and it stayed all square until Paul played a superb chip from the edge of the green to celebrate a birdie on the eighth and take the lead for the first time in the game.
There was utter silence for every shot but joy soon turned to agony for Paul on the ninth as his ball touched the hole from one metre out but rolled out and he missed the chance to go two-up.
The electrician from Blackburn Council then had a nightmare on the tenth as he needed to take an extra shot to get out of the trees, while Gary celebrated a birdie and once again levelled the match.
And it remained that way until the 13th when Gary putted well for another birdie to once more take charge. As the game swung first one way and then another, it was Paul's turn to hold his nerve as he birdied the 15th to tie the match.
But Gary wasn't down for too long and in the difficult par five 16th hole, Gary again birdied although Paul was unlucky again as his shot hit the hole and rolled out.
On the 17th, it was Gary's turn to suffer as he fell short with his third shot and Paul putted superbly and, with one hole left, the match was delicately balanced.
Both played superbly on the par four 18th, getting to the green in two shots and both were only a couple of metres from the hole in front of a large crowd gathered near the clubhouse to watch the finale.
The crowd were silent as Paul had a go first but his shot curled just round the hole and out.
It was then up to Gary to hole his shot for the championship and he took his time sizing it up. But he again could only watch in agony as he missed - and it went to sudden death.
The pair returned to the first hole as the crowd numbers swelled and Paul's first shot was comfortable. Gary's however went out of bounds towards the ditch at the side - but the rules state he was allowed a free drop, despite it being questioned by a few of the spectators.
Gary then ended up playing a great shot onto the green and lining up for a par finish. Paul tried his lucky chip for a birdie but the ball bounced on the hole and landed away from the flag. He needed to find the hole but it again rolled round the rim and off to the side while Gary kept his composure to fire home the winner.
"I just jumped up. I knew as soon as it was half way there that it had gone in and I shouted "get in there." I felt gutted when I knew the ball had gone out of bounds and when I had dropped it, I still thought it was an impossible shot but it went onto the green. I just feel absolutely delighted. It is such an honour."
He shared the moment with his fiancee Joanne and his daughter.
"I owe Joanne a lot as she lets me play golf nearly everyday."