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Chris Boughton’s golf column: Head of fundraising is new skipper

RUNNERS-UP: Alan and Paul Maddy, who were runners-up at the Thetford Pro-Am Picture: Malcolm Grubb
RUNNERS-UP: Alan and Paul Maddy, who were runners-up at the Thetford Pro-Am Picture: Malcolm Grubb

The Golf Foundation have announced the appointment of Vanessa Bell as their first head of fundraising. Vanessa is the current captain of the Suffolk County Ladies’ Golf Association team and led them to third place in the English County finals at Felixstowe Ferry GC in September last year.

She played a professional tour golf in the USA and Europe after attending a golf scholarship at the University of Alabama previously but is back in the amateur ranks and plays off a handicap of one.

Brendan Pyle, CEO of the Golf Foundation, who also resides in Suffolk, said: “We had some excellent candidates for this new role, but Vanessa really did stand out with her knowledge and experience in fundraising, her positive attitude and her clear love of the game.”

The Foundation’s press officer Ben Evans said: “The charity is reaching 500,000 youngsters a year in schools, communities and golf clubs with the express aim of helping 50,000 experience golf at a club and creating 15,000 new regular golfers in golf clubs every year.

Six local golf clubs took part in the pilot GolfSixes junior initiative in 2017 which was funded and supported by the Golf Foundation.

This shortened form of golf was aimed at youngsters new to the game and included inter-club competitions held on each participating club’s course.

The series was won by The Suffolk. Golfsixes will be held in the county again this year and details will be published here once released.

Thetford GC

Paul Maddy started slowly but ended like a house on fire to win the March Thetford ProAm with an excellent round of 67. Paul, a former European Tour Pro, was partnered by his dad Alan, a member at Gog Magog, who is the Thetford ProAm president.

They started at the 14th, Paul birdied the par-5 17th but dropped a shot at the 464-yard 18th. Another shot went at the par-3 third but he got his act together with four birdies in a row from the fifth plus two more at the 10th and 13th.

His five-under-par total was three better than another former European Tour member Andy Marshall (Bawburgh) who won the last Thetford ProAm in January. Jamie Moul (Stoke-by-Nayland) came third with 71.

Thetford general manager Malcom Grubb said: “Paul was delighted to receive his prize from his dad and praised Thetford’s green staff, saying it was in fantastic condition and the best course he has played in England this year.”

The Maddys had a better-ball score of 42pts but it was not enough to win the ProAm – Moul and his ‘super sub’ partner Dean Brace came in with a remarkable 47.

Thetford club champion Robert Setchell partnered Terry Ryan from Ely City to take third place in the AmAm with 40pts.

The winning pair were Paul Lankaster and Ian Carter from Stoke-by-Nayland. Scores were remarkably high in the club’s March Midweek Stableford with Pat Coy surprised to take first place with 33pts off his handicap of 15.

Mark Lingard (11hcp) was second with 32 followed by Steve Campbell and Kevin Stannard with 31. There were five players on 30: Ian Ramsay, Steve Duncan, Wayne Prigg, James Camilleri and Steve Cobb.

Flempton GC

Following on from my round-up of local open competitions last week, there are three to add. Flempton have scheduled their Ladies’ Open Day for Tuesday, May 8, and the Gentlemen’s Open will be on Thursday, August 9.

There will also be a Mixed Open on Saturday, September 8. Visit website www.flemptongolfclub.co.uk

The club’s media officer Jeremy Nunn also reported: “Now that the snow has gone, the course is open and playing well and the Saturday Eclectic competition has resumed.

“There has been a total entry of 27 golfers so far, which is an excellent response, with old and new members playing together in a competitive but friendly way.”

Last Saturday, 2017 Suffolk County Golf Champion, 17-year-old Alfie Halil, took top spot, just pipping Nigel Priestnall on countback. Priestnall’s excellent round of nett 68 saw him leap into second place overall, just behind club secretary Bob Cooper.

In the club’s latest weekend medal, Joseph Beasant scored a superb nett 63 off his handicap of six to win the competition. In second place, Xander Bell also impressed with a nett 65 from a nine handicap. Peter Marshal came third (90-22=68).

The Suffolk GC

Bob Stevens’ second place in last week’s Midweek Order of Merit match, took him to joint first place in the league with previous front runner Tony Hurst. Both have 37 points.

Ivan Snelling, who won this Stableford competition for the second week running, lies third with 32.

Bury St Edmunds GC

The format for the new Bury GC Open competition, the Bury St Edmunds Open Cup, on Friday, June 15, will be any combination of two ladies, two men or lady and man. Contact the club for more information.

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