Tom hopes for better luck this time round

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GOLFER Tom Holmes is hoping to banish once and for all unhappy memories of the Gazette Matchplay tournament.

One year, he got as far as the quarter-final, but lost the match – as well as his car and a set of clubs!

However, there were no such misadventures when he took part in the first round of the 2012 event.

In his opening round clash, 69-year-old Holmes, a 12-handicapper from Blackpool North Shore, defeated Glenn Rogerson (De Vere Herons Reach) by 7 and 6.

He led all the way on his home course, beating his 10-handicap rival.

That was a marked contrast to his unhappy experience some years ago.

He lost in the last eight at Ormskirk Golf Club, only going down at the 18th.

After returning from the presentation ceremony, Holmes discovered that the clubs and car had gone.

The clubs never saw the light of day again, while the company car was found in Orrell, smashed up and in a state of considerable disrepair.

In this year’s first round match, a return to his old driver paid dividends for Holmes, a past winner of the Donald Caunce Memorial at North Shore, where he has been a member for the best part of 25 years.

Now retired, Holmes used to work as a technical representative and his travels sometimes took him to Ireland, where he struck up a friendship with the legendary Christy O’Connor Senior.

Indeed, O’Connor presented Holmes with a copy of a painting depicting a famous win in the Irish Open at Royal Dublin and it was given to North Shore as part of their centenary celebrations and now takes pride of place on the walls at the Devonshire Road club.