CHRIS Nicholls won the battle of the rookies to claim the Harry Vardon Trophy and become Bury and District Golf Association’s men’s champion for 2014.

The Rossendale Golf Club member had home advantage in the final, but had to hold his nerve, coming from two holes down with two to play to beat Harwood’s Anthony Stirling on the 18th green.

Neither golfer had made the final before, but it was Nicholls who finished the match the strongest.

With both men facing birdie putts on the final hole, the 27-year-old catering manufacturer worker heaped pressure on his opponent by sinking his, and Stirling was unable to match him.

“I have never experienced nerves like that before,” Nicholls admitted. “But it was a special feeling to win on my home course.”


Qualifiers: Ashley Siddle (Rossendale), Chris Nicholls (Rossendale), Hannan Mahmood (Bury), Adam McCormack (Greenmount), Mike Bennett (Bury), Danny Redding (Rossendale), Matt Collinge (Greenmount), Anthony Stirling (Harwood).

Quarter-finals: Anthony Stirling beat Ashley Siddle, Adam McCormack beat Mike Bennett, Chris Nicholls beat Matt Collinge, Danny Redding beat Hannan Mahmood.

Semi-finals: Anthony Stirling beat Adam McCormack, Chris Nicholls beat Danny Redding.

Final: Chris Nicholls beat Anthony Stirling by one hole.

Best Nett Prize: 36 holes Chris Edwards (Greenmount).