Observer Golf Shield
Jason Ashworth (Accrington) v Paul Billington (Accrington)
Rossendale GC on Sunday, start 1pm
JASON Ashworth will be playing catch-up as he battles with fellow Accrington Golf Club member Paul Billington in the final of the Observer Shield on Sunday (1pm start).
The 20-year-old, who plays off one, will give eight shots to Paul, who plays off 12, at Rossendale Golf Club.
"It is hard as it means he can have one bad hole and still be in front," admitted Jason, who is the assistant greenkeeper at Accrington GC.
"I haven't played anyone in the competition so far and given them that many shots and Paul has said he is going to stuff me!"
Jason is quite confident, though, after he saw off friend and Saturday practise partner Martyn Slack in the semi-final at Whalley 3&2.
"It was a tense game and was hard work," said Jason. "I gave him two shots and was two up as he was unlucky on the second hole, as his ball hit a tree and never dropped out and disappeared. I was always in front after that so it was good to get the win and Martyn said he was beaten by the better golfer so that was nice."
Jason has had a good year golfing-wise as he won the Accrington GC Club Championship - which was his ultimate aim at the start of the year. "I said originally I wanted to win the Club Championship but, after doing that, I also wanted to reach the final of the Observer and I can't believe I have done it."
Jason, whose previous best was the quarter-final, was going to get a pracrise round in on the Rossendale course this week but Paul won't have to after three rounds there earlier in the competition. "It is like home from home," said the 48-year-old. "I have been winding Jason up - you have got to have a joke with the young lad as, with eight shots, he has to get six or eight birdies.
"But I won't be competing with him for distance, he is a big hitter and I will play my game and let him get on with his.
"I respect him as a player as he won our Club Championship but anything can happen. I will just be taking it one hole at a time."
Paul, who has golfer John Boyle as his caddy and who has only reached the third round previously, knocked out Allan Byrom in the semi-final 2&1 at Green Haworth.
"It was a close, scrappy game that swung to and fro and I was nervous as we had more than 30 people watching us," said Paul.
"I am not used to playing in front of crowds but hopefully it should prepare me for the final.
"There will be nerves on both sides but hopefully I will chill out on the day."