Llion the king as Kerry roars to BIGGA National success
Llion Kerry with the BIGGA Challenge Trophy
Participants in the BIGGA National Championship battled through strong winds and rainy showers over the spectacular links at Formby and Formby Ladies as Llion Kerry of Royal St Davids scooped the top prize.
A retained firefighter and rugby player for Bro Ffestiniog, Llion wasn’t going to let the pressure of playing in BIGGA’s largest annual golfing event get to him and backed up his opening day six-under par 65 with a 76, to win the BIGGA Challenge Trophy by four shots.
Llion was playing in his debut BIGGA National Championship and said he enjoyed the experience.
“It was great," said Llion. "There’s so much camaraderie among the players and it was great to see how many people stayed for the presentation. I can’t believe I won, it’s quite a surreal experience!”
The 29-year-old is the son of John Kerry who, alongside his twin brother Roger, were head greenkeeper and deputy head greenkeeper at Royal St Davids in Harlech. With his mother also working in the office at the club, it means Llion has grown up around the links environment, setting him up perfectly to do well on the Lancashire coast.
The BIGGA National Championship sponsored by Rigby Taylor is believed to be the first championship ever to be joint hosted by both Formby and Formby Ladies, with course managers Paul Swift and Rob Sandilands setting an incredible challenge for the participants.
Llion set himself up for success with his opening day's play, which he managed by following a simple ethos. “Don’t hit a driver, keep the ball in play," Llion said." I was told not to hit a driver and I managed to stay out of the heather until the 17th, which kept me going well.”
He eagled the 10th hole and a birdie on the 12th put him to six-under, which he held for the rest of the round, to give him the overnight lead.
“Formby Ladies is a tough layout, which is great because it shows that you don’t have to lengthen a course to make it tougher,” said Llion. “Once you get into the heather it can be a very tough course and when I got on the 17th I took my medicine and just played out sideways, so I was able to keep scoring.”
Llion's second round at Formby started poorly, with a lost ball and a seven on the second hole. But he kept his head and eked out a couple of shots over the following holes to keep him ahead of the chasing pack.
“I knew I had one shot on the field anyway and I thought I’d rather lose shots at the start than at the end, because I had 16 holes to fight back." he explianed. "I got myself back to two-over after 12, bogied 13 and 14, birdied 17 to get to three-over and then I thought, this is going OK now. But I didn’t know what people were doing ahead of me and I didn’t want to get ahead of myself.”
However, a total of 141 across the two rounds was enough to give the one-handicapper the title of BIGGA National Champion 2019 and Llion is now looking forward to defending his title at Royal Mid Surrey in 2020.
Phil Dewhurst presents the BIGGA Challenge Cup to Leigh Mordy
BIGGA Challenge Trophy (Gross)
1st: Llion Kerry, Royal St Davids, 141
2nd: Noel Crawford, Royal County Down, 145
3rd: James Hampson, Chester, 146
4th, Kyle McClung, Gleneagles, 146
5th, David Simpson, Crieff, 148
BIGGA Challenge Cup (36-hole Stableford)
1st: Leigh Mordy, Knowle, 70 points
2nd: Derek McJannet, Matlock, 69 points
3rd, Ben Lowery, Market Rasen, 68 points
BIGGA Challenge Plate (18-hole Stableford)
1st: Rob Groves, Spalding, 38 points
Division 1: Kenny Mitchell, St Andrews Links Trust
Division 2: Graham Hurren, St Clements
Division 3: Ian Lloyd, Fynn Valley
BIGGA Challenge Bowl (Trade)
1st: Derek Cunliffe, Rigby Taylor
Nearest the pin: Ben Lowery, Market Rasen
Longest drive: Ross Surridge, Boyce Hill
Download the full results here:BIGGA National 2019 results.pdf