Chris Boughton’s golf column: Close battles at The Suffolk Golf Club

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Head greenkeeper Gary Turner and his team did a superb job in preparing the course for The Suffolk Golf Club’s 2016 Club Championship’s last weekend.

On Saturday Chris Tate (5hcp) shot a gross 70, despite a bogey on the first hole.

Another five handicapper, Gary Last, was in second place with a gross 75, beating Simon Ferrari on countback.

Ferrari stood on the 18th tee box on level par, but scored a triple bogey on the par 5 final hole. His nett score of 69, however, left him in second place behind Tate on the overnight nett leaderboard.

In complete contrast to the rain on day one, there was bright sunshine, cloudless skies and only a slight breeze on Sunday. Despite the vastly-improved weather, the scoring was generally higher than the previous day.

In the Ladies’ event, Charley Garrod (6hcp) added an 83 to her first round 80 to win the Gross Championship Vase, seven shots ahead of runner-up Tish Mortlock (eagle on the 15th), who won the Nett Trophy.

In the Men’s Gross event, Tate (147) and Ferrari (148) fought a close battle, with Tate claiming the crown by just one shot overall.

Last was third (154). Ferrari (136), however, secured the Nett Cup, with Tate a shot back and Alf Sandford third (139).

Over the two rounds, Tate was seven under his handicap and Ferrari six, but the triple bogey on day one on the 18th cost Ferrari the Gross Championship Cup.

Thetford Golf Club

Ross Sanford won the Thetford Golf Club Championship with two rounds of 76.

His total of 152 was three strokes clear of Mark Henfield, with Matthew Harben in third place with 157.

Sanford led the way by one stroke after the morning round, having birdied three of the four par fives as well as the par-three first.

Those gained strokes were offset by six bogies and a double-bogey six at the eighth.

Henfield was one behind with his card highlighted by an eagle three at the sixth, but he also had problems at the eighth before putting out for a triple-bogey seven.

Harben and John Tavener also had 77s, with new member Mitchel Britten one further behind. The course showed its teeth with only five players breaking 80.

In the afternoon, Sanford held off all challengers with two more birdies, at the 10th and 16th, against four bogies and two dropped shots at the first.

His 76 was only matched by one player, greenkeeper David Ball, who has hardly played since finishing as the runner-up last year.

Ball recovered from an opening 85 with 76 to move up to fourth overall.

Henfield had four birdies, but his chances were spoiled by taking seven at the par-four 18th, while Harben was harmed by an eight at the par-four seventh.

Dave Bennett won the Handicap prize with two rounds of nett 71 off his handicap of 20.

Arron Gaskell had led with a first round of 69 off 18, but could only add a nett 73 and lost out on countback.

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club

Bury hosted a Seniors’ Open competition last week on what organiser Graham Judge described as ‘a perfect day for golf’.

Taking part were 84 guests from Lincolnshire, Norwich and Essex, and 23 Bury members all playing an individual Stableford format against each other.

Guests competed for the Perpetual Cup and Bury members for the Cusworth Trophy, which was donated by the family of John Cusworth, club captain in 2009.

His widow Marian, who is still a member of the club, presented the prize to this year’s winner, Bob Duncan, while Gary De’ath, a partner at Gross & Co Solicitors, and one of the events sponsors, presented Paul Jarvis (Manor Grove GC) with the Perpetual Cup.

The Chauffeur Services Winter Cup, played for by Suffolk PGA Professionals, came to a conclusion at Bury last week.

The semis were played in the morning and in the afternoon final, Culford School’s Director of Golf, Lawrence Dodd, beat Tim Cooper of Newton Green GC by 6&5.

Dodd, 33, played much of his junior amateur golf at the Bury Golf Club and with a superb run of nine birdies in 28 holes, and only dropping two shots all day, he clearly still knows his way around the course.

The last time he played at Bury he won the Suffolk Open in 2012. A nostalgic day for Dodd and an early birthday present.

Stowmarket Golf Club

There is no stopping Stowmarket member Trevor Golton this summer.

In August he won the Club Championship and the Seniors’ Championship, both gross and nett.

Last week he became Suffolk County Seniors’ Champion which was played on his home course.

Golton took full advantage of his local knowledge on his way to a winning gross 72.

After 18 holes he was tied with Chris Ginn from Woodbridge, but eventually took the championship title for 2016, and the Geoffrey Barnard Bowl, at the third extra hole.