Chris Boughton's Golf Column: Shotgun start in breezy conditions
The new Captains’ Drive-in at the Suffolk Golf Club last Sunday was an 8.30am shotgun start for the 80 golfers that took part in glorious sunshine but a chilly stiff breeze.
Gordon Markham (Men’s Capt), Tisha Mortlock (Ladies’ Capt) and Stephen Christopher (Senior’s Capt) all hit good drives down the first fairway accompanied by loud cheers of support from the watching golfers, to start the event off.
Markham, a former jockey, is a Handicapper at the British Horse Racing Authority so, appropriately, this year’s drive-in theme was horse racing.
In the competition that followed the drive-in the winning team, Rhys Nightingale, Andrea Leigh, Derek Bloomfield & Keith Day, carded an impressive nett score of 59.
Not far behind were runners-up John Pritchard, Len Hopkinson, Mark Rothon and Karoline Chan with 60.5. Mick Leigh, Iain Stark, Parry Garrod & Dan Kelly came third.
All three captains have agreed to sponsor Parkinson’s UK during their year in office, with 50 percent destined for the Bury St Edmunds local group and 50 percent for national research.
On Saturday the Suffolk GC held its Masters Medal which is for men’s competition winners during the past year.
Ashley Lewis qualified by winning the prestigious Presidents Trophy back in June and hit top form again to win this all-winners event with a nett score of 65.
In-form Jim Chapman was runner-up with nett 67 pushing Dave King into third spot on count-back. Rhys Nightingale carded a fine score of 73, the lowest gross return of the event.
In the 12th and final round of the Suffolk Golf Club’s Men’s Wednesday Order of Merit series, James Edgar’s 7th place was good enough for him catch Mark Rothon at the top of the league table with them both finishing on 62 points.
Rothon finished outside the top 10 scoring places in the final match.
There is no count-back applied so Edgar and Rothon are joint champions of the final Order of Merit league in the outgoing Captain’s (June Smart & Pete Cocksedge) year.
The winner on the final day was George Pedro with 42 points from his handicap of 18.
Three golfers scored 38 points, in count-back order: Stephen Brown (17hcp), Alf Jackson (12hcp) and Ivan Snelling (9hcp).
Jim Chapman finished 9th on the day to secure third spot in the league with 54 points.
The club’s Men’s Weekend Order of Merit series have also concluded, with Chapman the Saturday league champion with 20 points followed by Chris Tate on 17.
The Sunday league Champion is Rhys Nightingale with 21 points. Mark Stratton was the runner-up.
The Ladies’ Order of Merit Leagues were dominated by three golfers – Midweek champion was Joan Plumb, followed by June Smart & Tisha Mortlock. In the weekend league, Smart led the way followed by Plumb and Mortlock.
Thetford Golf Club
The first of the Thetford Golf Club’s Winter ProAms was held on Thursday, October 17, with 100 players taking part, including 13 professionals.
Jamie Abbott had the best individual score of 68 while Jamie Moul had a 70 and partnered Stoke-by-Nayland five-handicapper Louis Freeman to a better-ball score of 66 to win the ProAm.
Jamie Moul had six birdies in his round and praised his partner for coming in when he had a sluggish finish.
He is now preparing for a slight change of atmosphere – he will play in the Tour qualifying school in Spain. Depending on his success there he may be back at Thetford for the November ProAm.
The AmAm winners were G Maclean and J Blowers with a remarkable better-ball score of 63, three better than the father-and-son runners-up, T Hatton and M Hatton.
Ian Ramsay won the October Midweek Stableford at Thetford with 35pts off his handicap of six.
A highlight of the day was Bob Fletcher’s first hole-in-one at Thetford when his eight-iron tee shot at the 156-yard third took one bounce and went straight into the hole.
He was playing alongside Frank Benn and Gary Woodhouse.
“It was nice that we all saw it go in,” said Bob.
The nine-handicapper has had one other ace – but that was in Dubai. He spent 35 years in the Gulf working for British Steel before retiring to Norfolk.
Robert Satchell finished in second place with 34 points from his five handicap.
Suffolk Winter Alliance
On a sunny, but chilly autumn day, at Newton Green, the Suffolk Winter Alliance held the fourth meeting of their 2019/20 season.
It was attended by 54 players including two Professionals played on a course in good condition for the time of year.
The Professional prize was won by Sam Forgan of Stowmarket with a score of 68.
The Four-Ball-Better-Ball Stableford was won by the Stoke-by-Nayland pairing of Dean Brace and Richard Bland with 46 points.
Their next meeting is a Four-Ball-Better-Ball event at Stowmarket GC on Sunday 3rd November.
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