Chris Boughton’s golf column: Duncan produces magic round at Thetford

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At Bury St Edmunds Golf Club, the ladies joined their new lady captain, Joan Warnett, for the annual Christmas Ten-Holes competition.

The format was a friendly team event, consisting of 10 holes of Stableford scoring, played in a ‘waltz’ format, thus giving everyone an opportunity to contribute to the team’s score.

The event was won by Joan Garrett (the previous ladies’ captain), Janice Clark and Viv Whittaker with 42 points, just beating Linda Smailes, Angela Alais and Lynne Wright into second place.

Nearest the pin, on the second hole, was won by Lyn Gordon, who landed her tee shot pin high to within 8ft of the flag.

The talking point of the day was the bit of sparkle added by Joan with her ‘Nearest the Wiggly line’ on the 10th hole. In true Joan style of including everyone, instead of a longest or straightest drive, the winner was whoever got nearest the line on the fairway.

The line weaved its way across and up the fairway, thus getting the name of a wiggle! The prize was won by Wendy Flack.

Bury Golf Club’s assistant secretary, Sandra Stannard, said: “The competition was played in the glorious winter sunshine and afterwards 68 ladies sat down together for a scrumptious two-course Christmas lunch prepared by the kitchen team.

“Everyone agreed that it was a fantastic start to Joan’s captaincy year, and a fitting end to our 2016 golfing season.”

The Suffolk

The weather was kind to the players in round three of the club’s Winter League, and consequently there were some good greensome scores.

Perry Garrod and John Mealey led the way with 41 points from the 16 shots they received.

Pat Day and John Pritchard were runners-up on 39 points, followed by Angie and Pete Lewis with 38.

After three of the six rounds, Charley and Daniel Garrod head the leaderboard with 109 points, with Karoline Chan and Iain Stark not far behind on 107.

In the December Weekend Medal, Chris Tate carded the lowest gross and nett scores (75-05=70). Jez Thomas increased his lead in the weekend Order of Merit table after finishing second on the day (83-12=71).

Thomas is now on 26 points which is a very healthy 10 points ahead of second-placed Dave King.

Tate followed his weekend medal win with an even better performance in winning the club’s Mid-week Stableford, scoring 39 points and seeing his handicap reduced to four.

Alf Sandford (12hcp) was runner up with 35 points and Ivan Snelling (10hcp) third, on countback.

In the Mid-week Order of Merit table, Jim Chapman still leads the way on 66 points, followed by John Dale and Snelling, both on 54.

Thetford

Stephen Duncan played the round of his life in the December Mid-Week Stableford at Thetford.

Duncan, who plays off 18, had a two at the par-three third hole and followed up with three successive birdies at the 5th, 6th and 7th.

Despite double-bogeys at the 8th and 9th, he was out in 37 strokes for 25 points for the first nine holes.

More birdies followed on the back nine, at the 10th and 17th, and he had 49 points in the bag as he stood on the 18th tee.

Unfortunately for him a visit to the trees resulted in a closing blob as he took eight to just miss out on joining a remarkable club of those who have scored 50 points in a Stableford competition.

Thetford general manager, Malcolm Grubb, said: “His 49-point return is the best score of the year at Thetford and members have been struggling to recall a higher score in recent years.”

Harold Ham (14hcp) and Terry Blacktopp (7hcp) both came in with 39 points, which is usually a winning score, but on this occasion had to settle for second and third respectively.

Suffolk County Golf Union

The rules on handicaps for Suffolk County Golf Union Senior’s team competitions for 2017 have been amended to bring them more closely in line with the Hambro and Tolly Cobbold Cups.

In the Parks Trophy, players must now have a handicap of nine or fewer, and in the Beaumont, the handicap range is now 10-20.

In the 2017 Parks Trophy first round draw, Bury GC entertain local rivals Flempton, with the winners facing 2016 champions Diss (who have a bye) in round two.

Stowmarket also have a bye and will face Rookery Park, at home, in round two.

In the 2017 Beaumont Trophy, holders Stowmarket have a bye again but so do their round two opponents, Ipswich. It’s a tough first match for the current champions but they do have home advantage.

All of our local teams have first-round home advantage with Flempton hosting Beccles, The Suffolk will be taking on Rookery Park and Bury entertain West Suffolk. Dates are to be arranged between the clubs and will be notified here in advance.