Stow’s Sam keeps Open chances alive
Stowmarket Golf Club’s men’s and ladies’ captains for 2017-18, Mark Tibbenham and Clare Peck, were thrilled to hand over a hefty cheque of £11,093.31 to East Anglian Air Ambulance head of clinical operations, Andy Downes, last week, at their breezy Norwich Airport base.
This impressive sum was raised during their captaincy and Sophie Matthew, EAAA fundraiser, spoke of her delight and gratitude to the club’s members for their generosity.
Stowmarket held their club championships last weekend with well over 100 club members taking part.
James O’Doherty carded two impressive rounds of 73 and 72 to win the Jack Barnard Scratch Cup, with Jack Forgan three shots behind in second place. The Ken Brand Handicap Cup went to Matt King with a two-round total of 139, which included a superb first round nett 66.
The Forgan family had a very successful golfing week with Andy taking the David Gregory Senior’s Cup with a gross round of 77.
Clive George’s nett 64 in the John Pierce Seniors’ Handicap Cup was a massive six shots ahead of runner-up Ray Sheridan, who beat Tony Gomez on countback.
More than 1,000 hopefuls battled it out at 13 Regional Qualifying events, across the UK, last week to keep their dream of teeing it up at the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie alive.
Stowmarket professional Sam Forgan delivered a superb bogey-free 64 at Frilford Heath to finish four shots clear of the rest of the pack as he booked his place in Final Qualifying.
Mark Rothon extended his lead at the top of the Midweek Order of Merit table, at The Suffolk Golf Club, after finishing second in the latest qualifier at the club.
A medal score of nett 69 left him just one shot behind Gordon Markham, the winner on the day. John Dale continued his recent run of form with a nett 71 for third place. Rothon has 67 points at the top of the table followed by Jim Chapman with 54.
Rothon and Chapman carried their Midweek competition form into the Club Championships, last weekend, finishing nett second and third respectively.
The nett champion for 2018 was David Wilbraham, who ended up five shots better than the field with an outstanding two-round score of 133.
Gross club champion is Ian Mortlock who finished one shot better than runner-up Gary Last, with Chapman finishing in third place again.
It was a very good weekend for the Mortlocks with wife Tish winning the ladies’ championship, both gross and nett. Ian and Tish are the first husband and wife winners of the Suffolk GC Championships in the same year. Jackie Thomas was overall ladies’ runner-up.
Bury St Edmunds
Young Michael Gee had another sub-par round in the Medal at Bury last week (70-1=69) but the top spot went to his father Steve, whose handicap was cut to seven, after an impressive return of 76-8=68. There were also nett 69s and one-shot cuts for John Bloomfield and Guy Lesser.
Gee was one of the favourites to take the Gross Club Champioship last weekend, but he returned an uncharacteristically poor score, by his standards, on the first day (gross 84).
He recovered well with a 75 on day two but was too far adrift and the winner was another young star, 16-year-old Max Adams, with a two-round gross score of 150.
Joint runners-up with 154 were Ben Aves, Ben Coleman and Phil Smailes.
The nett champion (the Bobby Jones Cup) was Bob Duncan with a two-day nett of 137.
Mariette Robbertse retained her ladies’crown with a gross 165 and Sue Russell triumphed in the ladies’ nett competition (Millennium Plate) with 144.
Robert Setchell, crowned as club champion last September, doubled up when he won the Seniors’ Championship at Thetford last week. Setchel, a four-handicapper, came in with a nett 70 to beat three other players on countback.
Kevin Stannard (98-28-70), Iain Maxwell (88-18-70) and Jackie Chiu (77-7-70) were the unfortunate group to miss out on countback.
The club’s members had the chance to play for their favourite football team during their Festival of Golf week. Wednesday’s Stableford competition combined individual prizes with a Norwich City v Ipswich Town team event, with players choosing who to play for.
Jim Neal’s mighty 43 points gave the Canaries a 359-316 lead in the morning competition for Seniors, contested by 45 players.
Former City striker Iwan Roberts also took part on the day, alongside Sky Sports commentator Jim White.
Roberts and Carrow Road season ticket holder Terry Young beat White and Town supporter Peter Martin 53-49.
The ladies (179-162) and men’s (140-133) were also Norwich wins ending up with an overall 4-0 whitewash for Norwich 731-660, who saw their club flag hoisted high on the club’s flagpole on the greenkeepers’ side of the Brandon Road.