Chris Boughton’s golf column: Glory for Evans

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Stowmarket Senior section golfers were greeted by a foggy golf course for their annual Three Clubs and a Putter Turkey Trot competition (The Gren Hibbert Shield). Thankfully the fog cleared much sooner than forecast and a two-tee start ensured all the field of 71 golfers were finished before the sun set and the fog started to return.

Gren died just over 10 years ago, while playing in this competition, hence it is named after him.

The Shield winner this year, with 37 points, was Ivor Evans on count-back from Paul Freeman. Andy Lillistone took third place with 35 followed closely by Brian Caines.

There were some excellent scores in the club’s December weekend Stableford competitions. On Saturday, Kieran Issit carded 41 points in Division One, just one point ahead of Jeff Gilham, and in Division Two Rodney Esden had an impressive round of 45 points.

On Sunday, Nigel Shaddick also scored 41 points.

The Suffolk

Despite a heavy overnight frost there were also some excellent scores in the The Suffolk’s December weekend Stableford competition.

John Pritchard led the way with an impressive 43 points and will play off two shots fewer next time out. Steve Wilkes was runner-up with 41 followed by Daniel Kaye and Peter Cocksedge, who both scored 40. Jez Thomas has 18 points at the top of the weekend Order of Merit table with second-placed Dave King on 16.

It was much tougher going in the December mid-week Medal with the leading three golfers all on nett 76. In countback order: Ivan Snelling, Mick Davey and Jim Chapman.

It was a very mild day, however, for last week’s mid-week Stableford where Chapman framed again, winning with a very impressive 43 points from his 11 handicap. After seven rounds of the mid-week Order of Merit, he leads the table with 57 points, well ahead of John Dale (49pts) in second place and Ivan Snelling (47pts) in third.

Thetford

The annual Every One a Winner competition held at Thetford Golf Club was as popular as ever.

There was a field of 28 four-balls for the Texas Scramble with a shotgun start at 8am. This meant there was a great atmosphere in the clubhouse as 112 players finished at about the same time — and then waited in keen anticipation as all received a bottle of something to provide good cheer for the festive period.

The winners were Brian How, Tony Brooks, Matt West and Matt Wabe with a balanced card of gross 62 (nett 58.8), with five birdies on each nine. The runners-up were Terry Stephenson, Clayton Collett, James Killa and Ian Ramsay, who finished with nett 59.9, and third place went to James Taylor, Ian Hamshaw, Stuart Tucker and Rob Johnson on 60.3.

There were bottles of Champagne for nearest the pin, and they were won by Brandon Butcher (first), Trevor Wignall (third), John Gaine (11th) and Les Dewey (16th).

Division One of the December Medal was won by Robert Kingsley with 84-12=72. He finished one stroke ahead of six-handicapper, Mike Horley.

Suffolk County Golf Union

Suffolk County’s team knockout competitions are complete for 2016, and as ever they were keenly contested.

In the Stenson Shield final, Woodbridge beat Gorleston and in the Hambro Cup, Bury beat Newton Green to win the Shield for the first time in 30 years.

The Tolly Cobbold Cup winners were Rookery Park, who beat the much-fancied Felixstowe Ferry team in the final by six, at Stowmarket Golf Club.

In the Parks Trophy, Diss beat Newton Green in the final by seven, and in the Beaumont Trophy final Woodbridge were victorious over Gorleston at Bury Golf Club.

Newton Green may have had to settle for runners-up in the Parks Trophy, but they did win Suffolk County’s Junior Team Championship, beating Haverhill in the final.

The draw has been made for the 2017 Suffolk County team competitions, with round one of the Hambro and Tolly Cobbold Cups scheduled for Sunday, May 14.

In the Hambro Cup (max 9hcp), Stowmarket entertain Southwold at home while The Suffolk, Flempton and Bury all have first-round byes.

The second-round draw has thrown up a big local derby, with 2016 champions Bury hosting neighbours The Suffolk on June 18.

Considering the proximity of the two golf clubs and the long-standing rivalry, it will be a much anticipated, keenly-fought and well-supported event.

In the Tolly Cup (10-18hcp), Stowmarket are at home to Aldeburgh while The Suffolk have a tough encounter at Felixstowe (last year’s runners-up). Bury will entertain St Clements, and Flempton travel to Diss.

The Stenson Shield (Scratch) gets under way on Saturday, May 20, with Flempton and Bury travelling to the coast to face Aldeburgh and Southwold respectively. Stowmarket have a first-round bye.