Chris Boughton’s golf column: Tough conditions win the day at Thetford
Conditions were very difficult for Sunday’s Medal at Thetford Golf Club with 17 players failing to return a card as the wild, wet and windy March conditions won the day. However, Terry Stephenson beat the elements as well as the rest of the field to win Division One with a level par return of 84-12-72, finishing one stroke ahead of a trio who were separated by countback — David Sutton, Mark Lingard and Andrew Horsburgh.
The Division Two winner was Ken Kirwan with a fine nett 71 off his handicap of 27.
Two players at either end of the handicap list came in with 38 points to top the leader board for the Seniors’ March Stableford. Steve McIlroy (28hcp) pipped Robert Setchell (4hcp) on countback. Chris Foulds (22hcp) and Reg Knowles (27hcp) were next with 37pts each.
The Suffolk played the last round of their Winter League on the same wild, wet and windy Sunday as Thetford and here too conditions won the day. Most of the competitors walked in before the end and those that persevered had scores that did not influence the final league table.
Perry Garrod and John Mealey are therefore the club’s 2016/17 Winter League Champions with a best, four rounds from six, score of 150 points. Sadly, the weather robbed the in-form pairing of Ron Hazell and Dave King of having a reasonable last-round shot at catching the leaders.
They did, however, do well to finish as runners up with 146pts considering they did not play in the third round.
Karoline Chan and Iain Stark (144pts) took third spot on countback from Daniel Kaye and Terry Manning.
It also rained for most of the club’s Mid-week Stableford at The Suffolk on Wednesday, but at least the wind was less wild than the previous Sunday.
Two golfers returned 35pts which was commendable considering the conditions, with John Dale beating James Edgar on countback for top spot. Dale is now in pole position at the top of the Mid-week Order of Merit table with 48 points, three ahead of Mick Davey. Ivan Snelling lies third with 44.
Bury St Edmunds
The wind and the rain that blighted the competitions at the Thetford and The Suffolk courses were replaced by blue skies and sunshine for the Bury Club’s March Mid-week Stableford last Thursday. The fine weather, coupled with a course in excellent winter condition, resulted in some very good leading scores.
In Division One, Timothy Alderman returned an impressive 42 points off his 13-handicap pushing 5-handicapper Mike Greener (41pts) into second place.
Tom Hood (14hcp) carded a superb 46pts to win Division Two.
The club’s Senior section held the final round of the Glasswell Cup last week when, despite only scoring 28pts, Simon Howe (7hcp) held onto his overall lead at the top of the table to win the cup.
John Reed took the honours on the day with 38pts from his handicap of 19 followed by Gordon Warnett (22hcp) who carded 36pts. Howe’s best three from four score of 112pts was just two ahead of Trevor Hamblett, who gained six points on the leader with his return of 34pts, but fell just short of winning the cup.
David Peake was fourth in the final match, with 35pts, placing him third overall.
Sixty-three members took part in the four-match series.
Low handicap golfers dominated the leading scores in Flempton’s March Medal competition.
Two handicapper Max Adams returned an impressive nett 68 followed by Ralph Evans, also playing off two, with a nett score of 70.
Rupert McCallum took third spot with 70 playing off a handicap of eight.
Suffolk Winter Alliance
The penultimate event of the 2016/17 Suffolk Winter Alliance was held by the sea at Felixstowe Ferry last week.
Some of the golfers avoided the worst of the rain whilst others were less fortunate, but at least the temperature was spring-like and the breeze manageable.
The Professional prize was won, once again, by Stowmarket’s Sam Forgan with an impressive four under par 68.
The team event, two from four scores, was won by Ashley Hammond, Nikki Spong, Chris Leys and Peter Walters (Brett Vale, Hindlesham and Rushmere) with 87 points.
In second place with 86pts were Mike Verhelst, George Davis, Chris Gwynett-Sharp and Brian Lever (Bury St Edmunds and Beccles).
One point back in third place was the all-Stowmarket group of Alex Davey, Jeff Gilham, Ken McCredie and Keith Rooney.
Ninety-eight golfers took part at Felixstowe.
The final Alliance meeting of the winter will be held at Haverhill Golf Club on March 23, and is a Fourball Betterball Stableford event for the Millennium Cup.