Chris Boughton’s golf column: Contrasting driving fortunes for new captains

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Early on Sunday morning The Suffolk Golf Club held their Captain’s Drive-In to welcome the club’s captains for the next 12 months.

As is customary at these events, the captains drive off the first tee in full view of all the other golfers taking part, with plenty of background activities to distract them.

Fireworks, an exploding golf ball and seven members attired in unusual but striking fancy dress, plus more than 70 eager cheering golfers, added to the pressure on the tee shots.

Not surprisingly, the new men’s captain, Alf Jackson, found the river as he drove through the lingering smoke from the early morning pyrotechnics.

Amazingly, ladies’ captain, Angie Lewis, found the fairway to an enormous cheer from her fellow members.

The new seniors’ captain, Roy Bance, was unable to attend but was represented by outgoing captain Bob Hope.

In the Texas scramble competition that followed, the winning team was Glen Barker, Perry Garrod, Colin Debenham and Barbara Wells with a nett score of 62.1.

Craig Smart, Graham Chapman, Dave Wall and Bruce Knapp were close behind with 62.5 followed by Chris Tate, Peter Plumb and Peter Lewis on 63.

Ivan Snelling dealt with the cold blustery wind better than the rest at The Suffolk last week, to win the Mid-week Stableford with 39 points.

John Dale, who recently returned to golf after a 10-year break, continues to rediscover his old swing and was the runner-up with 34 points. James Edgar came third.

Snelling’s latest win also ensured he was the Mid-week Order of Merit Champion measured over the past 12 weeks.

His 83 points was well ahead of runner-up Jim Chapman on 58 and third-placed Mick Davey on 55.

Bury St Edmunds

The Gee brothers featured in the leading positions in yet another competition at Bury Golf Club last week.

Younger brother Andrew returned a nett 68, off his 10 handicap, to win Division One of the October Medal and the Mingay Trophy.

Andrew will now play off a single figure handicap (9), for the first time, in his next competition outing.

Older brother Michael, who is the current club champion, came fourth with a nett 70 off his 4hcp.

The club’s captain in waiting, Nick Bonney (10hcp), was runner-up with a nett 69 pushing Justin Millard (5hcp) into third on count-back. Division Two player, Ian Shand (13hcp), recorded the lowest nett score (67).

The Aves family also had good cause to celebrate last week with fathe- and-son, Colin and Ben, winning the final of the Spring Goblets Foursomes knockout competition.

In total, 86 golfers took part this year with the preliminary round in May concluding with the final in October. They beat Paul Hadley and Barry Storey in the final.

Stowmarket

Jennifer Buckle took Division One in the Pat Grayston Plate last week with an impressive nett score of 67 off her 20 handicap.

Runner-up was Julie Blemings with 88-17=71 followed by Jane Darling, one shot back.

Edwina Hughes took top spot in Division Two (nett 71) and Gillian Freeman lead the way in Division Three.

In the same event, Bev Waspe was the winner of the competition played by past captains.

Runner-up was Joy Wood.

Thetford

The final men’s competition of the year was the Bill Jennings Trophy, which is the Champion of Champions event for competition winners over the previous 12 months.

This year’s winner was Glenn Beardsall, who handed in 89-18-71 to finish two strokes ahead of John Tavener (5hcp) and Pat Gould (18hcp). The annual battle of the sexes, for the Millennium Trophy, was extremely close this time and, when all the counting was done, the men prevailed by a single point.

There seems to be no stopping 19-year-old Jess Dixon at the moment, with her latest success coming in the Ladies’ EG Tuesday Medal (Division One).

Her winning score of 77-3=74 beat Norfolk County first-team player Shelly Pleasance (4hcp) by one shot.

There was a good turnout for the latest open event of the year at Thetford Golf Club, with the top prizes for the Ladies’ AmAm going to Dunston Hall.

The team of Julie Carpenter, Annie Baker, Jane Watson and Pip Martin were the first out in damp conditions and came in with a score of 86 points.

Although the weather improved, none of the other 29 teams of four could beat that target and the Norfolk team won by one point. 

The other prizes were spread around the region. The runners-up were from Bourn in Cambridgeshire, third place from Stowmarket (Anna Suggett, Jane Darling, Jackie Preland and Rosemary Stutely) while the fourth-placed team came from Bungay and Colchester.