Chris Boughton’s golf column: Bury and Flempton ready for derby
The Suffolk County Golf Union team knockout competitions for 2018 get under way on Sunday (April 29) with round one of the Hambro and Tolly Cups taking place.
Bury St Edmunds Golf Club, winners of the Hambro Cup for the past two years, have a local derby in the first round when they entertain Flempton at home.
Bury will be the favourites as reigning champions, but Flempton have been preparing hard for the match.
Media officer Jeremy Nunn said: “We have a much stronger team than in recent years and look forward to the challenge, but it will be played in a friendly spirit.”
The Suffolk GC have a first-round bye this time and will have home advantage in a tough match against Ipswich (Purdis Heath) in round two on June 17. Stowmarket also have home advantage against Diss in their first-round match.
The Hambro Cup is for players with handicaps under 10.
Bury GC will also enjoy home advantage in their first-round Tolly Cup (10-18hcp) match, on Sunday, against Aldeburgh Artisans.
Bury were runners-up in the Tolly in 2017 with a run of convincing wins before losing to Ufford Park in the final at Rookery Park, and should be strong contenders again this year.
Flempton have a very challenging encounter at Felixstowe in their first-round match while The Suffolk have a bye and Stowmarket host Brett Vale.
The Suffolk GC
The Suffolk Golf Club ladies’ pairing of Karoline Chan & Angie Lewis scored a good win over Haverhill’s Mary Sail & Linda Alexander in their first round Daily Mail Foursomes match.
Played at The Suffolk, Chan & Lewis were one down after the front 9 but the key hole was the long par 4 16th which they won, despite it being a shot hole for their opponents.
It left them two up with two to play, and a half at the 17th gave them a 2-1 victory and a place in the second round of the local stages of this prestigious national competition.
Bob Stevens is the Midweek Order of Merit champion for the latest three-month series of qualifying matches at The Suffolk GC.
He led the league table with 60 points, followed by Tony Hurst on 51 and Ivan Snelling on 47. In the final match last week Snelling won the day with 36pts, with Jim Chapman runner-up with 34 and Mark Rothon in third place.
It was a very warm day and with buggies allowed on the course 92-year-old local golfing legend Barbara Wells made her first playing appearance of the year in the Ladies’ Midweek Stableford, held on the same day as the Men’s competition.
June Smart was the ladies’ competition winner scoring 35pts with ladies’ captain Karen Absolon in second place. Smart leads the Ladies’ Midweek Order of Merit with 35pts after two rounds.
Chris Tate took his handicap back down to 4 in the club’s Springer Cup and National Pro-Am Qualifier on Saturday. His superb round of nett 70 beat Jim Chapman (82-12=70) on countback. Simon BIlton came 3rd with 85-14=71.
Thetford Golf Club is in fine condition as their busy spring season moves into full swing.
Barry Parr won the Hooper Cup last week (golfers over 60 years and 20+ hcp). Parr, who plays off 20, came in with two nines of 44 for a nett 68. His back nine of two pars and seven bogeys was particularly tidy and he finished three strokes clear of a trio on 71: Gary Woodhouse (13hcp), Martin Eeles (10hcp) and Steve Campbell (13hcp).
The club’s seniors held the SSAFA Shield recently and raised £110 for The Forces Charity. An additional donation from the seniors’ section will boost that sum.
This year’s winner was Jon Olpin, who came in with an excellent 42pts off his handicap of 26. Last year’s club captain, Trevor Wignall, was second with 39.
The Aspirants Shield is a competition for those with a handicap of 20 or above and John Smith was this year’s winner with 37pts off his handicap of 26.
In-form Jon Olpin (23hcp) was runner-up with 34, beating Jon Daly (20hcp), Josh Cole (20hcp), Mark Leeder (24hcp) and John Flint (21hcp) on countback.
Thetford Ladies’ first team began their league season with a thrilling win over Sheringham second team. Jess Dixon and Kath Malvern won the top two matches, but the next three Thetford players lost.
Sheila Spreadborough levelled things up by winning match six, and the contest was decided on the final hole when Rosemary Bloom closed out a one-up win.
Thetford Seniors have struck a rich vein of form and in recent weeks have beaten Dereham (H) 5-1, Haverhill (A) 6-2 and Bungay & Waveney Valley (A) 4-2.
Paul Williams won the Charles Grayson Medal at Stowmarket last week with a fine score of nett 69 and retained the Salver that he won last year. Jim Deasy was runner-up with nett 70. In Division Two, Maurice Golding carded a nett 70 for top spot.