Chris Boughton’s golf column: Smart takes the edge off strong wind

WINTER SCENE: The  new, and appropriately named, restaurant The View  overlooks The Suffolk course. Picture: Steve Hall
WINTER SCENE: The new, and appropriately named, restaurant The View overlooks The Suffolk course. Picture: Steve Hall
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Last Wednesday was the final day of an unusually mild spell of weather, for early January, but a strong westerly wind, gusting across the Lark Valley course, made scoring very tricky for the mid-week Stableford golfers at The Suffolk Club.

Craig Smart made the best of the difficult conditions, amassing 34 points off his 19 handicap, despite four blobs, to take top spot.

In runner-up spot was club president Peter Plumb with 31 points.

In third place, Ivan Snelling closed the gap on Jim Chapman at the top of the mid-week Order of Merit table.

Chapman still leads the table despite the wheels falling off his round on the 11th hole.

He was one over gross at that point, but eventually limped in with just 28 points.

The much-hyped snow forecast for the latter part of last week never materialised, locally, although conditions were still difficult for the golfers playing in competitions over the weekend.

On Saturday, the strong northerly wind took the chill factor way below freezing for the January Weekend Medal.

Understandably there were no low scores, but three golfers shot nett 73 and had to be separated at the top by count back. In-form golfer Dave King took first place, followed by Ivan Snelling and Stewart Kerr.

King is now only three points behind Jez Thomas in the weekend Order of Merit table, and Snelling moved into third place.

The wind had eased for the fourth round of the Club’s Winter League, on Sunday, but it was still bitterly cold and it rained all day.

Thirty-four hardy winter golfers braved the horrible conditions, including Dave King, who completed a weekend double, this time partnering Ron Hazell to first place.

Their 37-point Greensomes tally was one ahead of Ian and Karen Absolon, who beat Perry Garrod/John Mealey and Ian Stark/Karoline Chan on countback.

After four of the six rounds, Stark and Chan lead the league with 143 points, closely followed by Charley and Daniel Garrod on 142.

All Saints Hotel have now opened their new restaurant and bar, aptly named The View, which overlooks The Suffolk golf course.

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club

Bury GC also held a mid-week Stableford competition in tough windy conditions, but there were some excellent leading scores, under the circumstances.

In Division One, Ian Malyon somehow managed 38 points off his 11-handicap, followed by an equally impressive Simon Howe (7hcp) with 36 points and Harry Turner (7hcp) with 35.

John Bloomfield (22hcp) was top scorer in Division Two with 29.

Ninety-nine members took part in the third round of the club’s Winter Goblets competition on a relatively mild but misty, early January, Sunday morning.

Thankfully there was no frost or rain and little wind for the golfers to contend with and consequently the scoring was generally good.

The Winter Goblets event is contested over four rounds, in an 18-hole Foursomes Stableford format, played off half of full handicaps, from the white tees, the winning pair being decided by the best three scores from the four rounds.

There was a very close finish to this third round with just two points separating the top five pairs. Harry Block and Barry Hurren amassed 40 points for a one-point winning margin over runners up Steve Duffety and Gary Ward.

Julian Cooksley and Paul Hurst were third on count back.

The next two places were also decided on countback with Paul Newdick and Andy Chivers just shading Phil Smailes and Malcom Wyer. Both pairs had 38 points.

Despite not finishing in the leading scores this time, Steve Lankester and Mike Greener held on to their leading position overall, and after three rounds they have 115 points.

Duffety and Ward are now lying second on 112 points with the Hambro team pairing of Roger Nicholson and Max Adams third on 111.

So it is all to play for in the final round, of the club’s popular winter competition, on Sunday, February 12.

Congratulations to Graham Smith who had a hole-in-one at the 9th during the Winter Goblets third round.

Thetford Golf Club

Iain Yule, a Norfolk County regular team member, went around the course in 69 gross and had his handicap cut to 0, but he still did not win Thetford’s January Medal competition.

General Manager Malcolm Grubb reported: “Iain has been down to scratch before, but this is his lowest official exact handicap.”

He had five birdies, including three on the par-3s, but finished with a bogey on the 18th for a return of 69-1-68 and was pipped, on countback, by David Fawcett’s 79-11-68. Peter Allott came third, also on countback, with 74-6-68.

In the club’s January Seniors’ Stableford, three players carded 36 points and the leading positions were therefore also decided on countback - 1st Brian Maiden (23hcp), 2nd Alan Hitchborn (12hcp), 3rd Ollie Snushall (19hcp).