Chris Boughton's Golf Column: Stowmarket Golf Club hosts Progressive Stableford competition
Last year snow fell on December 10-11 and Stowmarket Golf Club was closed for three days, although it cleared in time for the annual Progressive Stableford competition on December 19.
This year there was no sign of snow, and December 18 was overcast, windy but dry for this year’s Progressive Stableford and 18 teams of four players manned all 18 tees for a shotgun 9am start.
Everyone returned to the clubhouse by 1.30pm and a Christmas lunch was served to 76 people at 2pm.
The seniors’ competitions secretary Barry Dove said: “Once again we were very well looked after by Angie and Jenny, Eric and his team in the kitchen and dining room, the greenkeepers and the Pro shop, who all contributed to the success of the day.”
When all cards were checked, in first place with 110 points was Team Watch (of Nightingales): Jonathan Brown, Mike Rawlings, Roger Brownlee and Trevor Sadler.
Second with 107 points Team Leap (of Leopards): Bill Smith, Ken McCredie, Tim Partridge, and Ian Rickard.
Third was Team Zeal (of Zebras): John Babraff, Mike Heywood, Paul Goodchild and David Wilding.
As per tradition for this competition, animal collective nouns were employed for the team names.
The winners were given bottles of wine by seniors’ captain Michael Farrow.
The Suffolk Golf Club
There have been two midweek qualifiers at the Suffolk since my last Golf Round-up, a Stableford competition on December 19, and a Medal on December 27.
The ‘usual suspects’ dominated the Stableford with Ivan Snelling’s excellent 41 points taking top spot followed by James Edgar, Mick Davey and Ron Hazell.
However, the following Thursday’s Medal enjoyed a bigger entry due to the Christmas holiday period and some different names dominated the leading places.
Mark Straton scored nett 67 off his handicap of 18 to lead the way followed by Brian Hay with 88-20=68. Alf Jackson finished in third spot pipping Simon Bilton on countback.
Edgar (64pts) still has a substantial lead in the Midweek Order of Merit table over Hazell (40pts) with Mick Davey and Ivan Snelling lying joint third with 37 each.
John Mealey and Perry Garrod lead the way after four rounds of the Winter League following their third-place finish on Sunday.
A Greensomes score of 36 points on the day gave them the overall lead with 148, one point ahead of Luke Hayden and Carl Pearson who also scored 36 on Sunday, for fourth spot on countback.
Alf Sandford and Val O’Neill won the day with an impressive score of 40pts.
They were followed by Michael Sturgeon and Russell Green (37pts).
The competition has two rounds remaining, the overall winners will be decided by the best four scores from six rounds.
Thetford Golf Club
Andrew Bloom produced a tremendous back nine of one-under-par 36 to win the December’s Seniors’ Stableford with a great score of 41pts off his handicap of 11.
After a blob at the eighth, Bloom parred the Stroke Index 1 ninth hole before eight pars and a birdie at the 12th.
Norman Hargreaves, playing off 20, won the Super Seniors’ prize for the over-70s with the next-best score of 40 ahead of runner-up Paul Huggins who had 37pts off 15.
Nine-handicap Maurice Anderson missed out on countback.
John Baldwin recorded the first hole-in-one of his 40-year golfing career at the third using a seven-iron.
Bury St Edmunds Golf Club
Forty-two members took part in the last qualifier of 2018, where the leading scores were impressive for the time of year.
There were five returns of over 40 points, including Jamie Cooper, who top-scored with 44pts and won Division 2.
Cooper’s interesting round included three birdies and two double bogies but ended up beating his handicap by 8 shots.
Graham Staff also had a superb round scoring 43 points for second place overall and top spot in Division 1.
Other leading scores: Phil Graham 41pts, Derek Charlwood 41pts, Nigel Philpin 40pts.
Suffolk Winter Alliance
Golfers from Stoke-by-Nayland continue to dominate the Suffolk Winter Alliance competitions with the latest event, at Ufford Park (the John Whiting Trophy), won by Roger Davies & Luke Tyler with 71 points.
Stoke also took second place with Richard Bland & Dean Brace just beaten on countback.
Haverhill golfers Chris Briggs & Dave Simpkin were third with 39 points.
The Professional prize went to Sam Forgan (Stowmarket) again, with a score of 71. Brace leads the Order of Merit (Sweep) for 2018-19 with 209 points, two ahead of fellow Stoke member Graham Vandervord.
Stoke golfers currently occupy the top seven places in the Order of Merit table, while Forgan has a comfortable lead at the top of the Professional’s Order of Merit with Alex Davey (Stow) and Luke Tyler (Bramford) joint second.