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 Captain Bill takes Burghley on the road


Club Captain Bill O’Driscoll excelled himself last week when he took a party of 51 Burghley Park members to Northampton Golf Club for his Captains’ Away Day. 

Everything ran with military precision, and there was a great atmosphere throughout the day.  The hilly track presented the visitors with many challenges, and the strategically placed water hazards made scoring difficult, although the overwhelming view of the players was that it had been a really enjoyable day.  Chris Lees (17) mastered the conditions best, his 38 points giving him top spot and the Captain’s Prize.  He was run very close by Keith Duff (12), who also shot 38 but lost on countback, leaving him to rue the fact that he failed to score on the final hole.  In the team event, Charlie Gardiner, John Tilley, Brian Plowright and Scott Downie took the honours with an average of 32.25 points, edging out Rob McGarr, Kevin Daly, Chris Lees and Alan Gray on 32.  “I was delighted by the way the day went” said Bill O’Driscoll, “and especially to see everyone having such a good day out.  Even better was the fact that we raised £360 for the Captains’ Charity.”

 

For member of the winning team Scott Downie it’s been an especially good week.   Along with Cathal McHugh, Nicky Plumtree and Michelle Powell he represented Burghley Park in the BMW International for Club Golfers at Woburn a few days earlier, where they played the Dukes Course in very tough wet conditions and were placed 10th with 82 points, which unfortunately did not get them through to the national finals at St Andrews.  However, running alongside the team event was an individual competition in which Burghley fared much better.  Cathal McHugh carded a fine 35 points which earned him 2nd place on the day, with Downie chasing him home in 4th place on 32 points; both players were delighted to discover that they had earned spots in the St Andrews final in September, where the top 8 finishers will qualify for the World Finals in South Africa.  To top their day they met Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, currently 15th in the world rankings, at the start of their round and clearly took inspiration from this encounter.  The Burghley team consisted of the leading players in the 2016 BMW Order of Merit series, sponsored by Sycamore BMW of Peterborough.

 

The Burghley Park Mixed Open on Sunday saw 124 players from 33 clubs across the region vying for the prizes, with home players performing well.  In pretty benign weather conditions 11 pairs broke the 40 points barrier, with Burghley’s Stephanie Crook and her partner Peter Hamilton from Wanstead emerging as winners with their 43 points.  The remaining places were all determined on countback, on 42 points, with  Mark Saggers & Carol Johnson claiming 2nd spot, Peter & Joan Hickman taking 3rd, Gill Bedford & John Tilley 4th, and Javan Argent & Mary Sharp 5th.  Nearest the pin prizes went to Joan Hickman, Margaret Middleton, Ian Moss and Mike McCarthy.

 

Seniors’ Captain Alan Gray masterminded the annual Seniors’ Away Trip, this year to Breadsall Priory in Derbyshire, which attracted 58 golfers and 14 non-players.  As always, day 1 was a practice round ahead of the main event on day 2, but only half the field were up for braving the weather, which was so wet that drying things out before the next days’ golf became a challenge.  On day 2 the players were more fortunate, with 13 of the 15 teams completing their round before the rain reappeared with a vengeance.  Checking of the scores revealed that it was tight at the top, but with a score of 86 points the winners were Alan Gray, Brian Ross-Jones, Judy Holt and Ron Carter; clearly no one had told Captain Gray that it would be bad form to win his own competition!  They were awarded the Old Fossil Trophy, a 110 million year old fossil sponge found by the section’s geologist on a previous Seniors’ outing.  They were pressed hard all the way by 2nd placers Brian Plowright, Anne Harrison-Smith, Bob Collier and Pauline Purchase, who finished just a point back on 85.  3rd place went to Bob Emmins, John Mayman, Maryon Cook and Joan Hickman on 81.  The putting competition was won by Terry Lill, Mollie Plowright, Anne Butland and Phil Hunt, whose total of 28 putts from all 4 players on all the par 3 holes showcased their chipping skills.  Nearest the pin prizes went to Jan Devlin and Rowland Davies.

 

Clearly the Seniors side were still suffering from the after-effects of their Derbyshire trip when they welcomed Spalding to Burghley a few days later, hoping to reverse their 6-2 drubbing in the away fixture earlier in the season.  But it was not to be.  In match 1 Alan Gray & Brian Plowright found themselves on the wrong end of a 5&3 defeat despite having beaten the same pair by the same score away at Spalding.  Further defeats for Maurice Egglestone & Paul Wilkinson (2&1), Bill Glencross & Mike McCarthy (3&2), Bill Purchase & Geoff Kevan (2 down), and George Clayton-Jones & Charles Cade (1 down) finished off Burghley’s hopes of revenge, before Pete Hickman & Bob Parker turned the tide with a hard-fought half.  Late wins for Bob Emmins & Terry Lill (1 up) and Mike Wright & John Drury (1 up) restored some respectability to the scoreline, but by then the damage was done and a 5½ - 2½ result means that bragging rights remain with the fenland side for another 12 months.

 

Monday saw a full field turn out for the Seniors Alec London Trophy for Men, and the Ladies’ Summer Trophy.  In the Alec London, David Cleminson (12) sneaked ahead of Rob Sorrell (19) on countback to claim the trophy, both players coming in with 39 points, with George Grant (17) 3rd on 38; all three players were cut one shot.  In the Ladies Summer Trophy countback was also needed to determine the winner, with Margaret Wright (34) coming out on top with 39 points, ahead of Pat Hudson (14) on the same score.  Chris Redfern (27) was 3rd on 35.  The top two were also both cut by one shot.

 

The Ladies” A Team played their final match last week against Greetham Valley, knowing that they had to win to have any chance of gaining promotion to Division 2 of the Lincolnshire League next year.  But even then it would depend on the result of the match between Belton Park and Belton Woods which was taking place at the same time.  Playing at home, Burghley were in a positive mood and the first pairing of Nicky Plumtree & Kay Hircock built up a lead of 4 up by the 13th, before finding themselves facing a fightback by the visitors but hung on doggedly to emerge 1 up winners.  Anne Hughes & Sue Churchill got in front early and never looked back, going away steadily to win their match 4&3, before the overall tie was sealed by Carol Johnson & Michelle Powell with a 2&1 win.  The final pair of Chris Taylor & Anne Fensome just missed out on a win, giving Burghley the points with a 3-1 win.  An anxious hour followed whilst the result of the match in Grantham was awaited, and when it came through as a win for Belton Woods there was jubilation at Burghley as it meant that they go up to Division 2 as champions.  “Everyone in the team has worked really hard this year” said Team Captain Kay Hircock, “and I’m delighted that we’ve made it to Division 2 at last.”

 

In the Ladies’ David Blaik Medal last Sunday, one of the BMW Order of Merit events, Joan Hickman (20) shot a net 70 to claim the trophy and see her handicap fall to 19.  She also took the Division 1 prize, ahead of Helen Cox (18) on 71 (cut to 17) and Carol Johnson (18) on 74.  Stephanie Crook (24) won Division 2 with her net 75, edging out Barbara Newell (25) on countback, with Jane Saggers (25) 3rd on 76.  In the Order of Merit standings, Stephanie Crook’s performance propelled her into the overall lead with 63 points, pushing Anne Fensom (55) into 2nd place, with Isbel Reading 3rd on 51.

 

The Men’s David Blaik Medal drew a field of 82 competitors and saw some good scoring.  Adi Ward (5) emerged as overall winner with his net 65, putting together a very clean card with just one bogey and one birdie on each half for a level par gross 70.  It also gave him the Division 1 prize, ahead of Mark Yarham (6) on 66 and David Scott (3) on 68.  Yarham was cut to 5.  Division 2 was claimed by Russell Compton (12) with a net 68, with Bob Emmins (12) 2nd with 70 and Javan Argent (13) 3rd on the same score.  Mike Beaumont (16) shot a net 67 to win Division 3 and come down to 15, with Steve Hopkins (17) 2nd on 69 and George Grant (17) 3rd on 69.  In the BMW Order of Merit rankings there was no change at the top, with Matthew Pettit (8) retaining his lead on 44 points, followed by Rob McGarr (6) on 35 and David Scott (3) on 32.

 

The Mens’ Saturday Stableford at the weekend was contested by 73 players, with Ryan Birtles (11) coming out on top with 40 points, after an impressive 22 points on the back nine.  He was cut to 8 as a result of an exceptional scoring reduction.  In Division 1 Andy Grieve (7) led a group of players on 36 points, squeezing out Paul York (7) and David McAlpine (8) on countback.  Birtles’ 40 points gave him the Division 2 win, ahead of Maurice Egglestone (13) on 35 and Howard Johnson (12) on 34.  In Division 3 Shean Smith (17) had another good round (39 points) to claim victory and was also on the receiving end of an exceptional scoring reduction, being cut to 14.  Jim Brader (19) was 2nd on 35, beating Tony Rogers (17) on countback.

 

In the Burghley Park Junior Open sponsored by local company Alltech, four of the top five places went to home players, with Tommy Johnson (20) continuing his good form this season with an impressive winning net 61 which saw his handicap cut to 18.  He played steadily all day, with nothing worse than a bogey on his card, except for an unfortunate 7 on the 15th when he found water on the approach to the green.  But he didn’t have it all his own way, as he was pressed hard by Joe Carter (15) and Charles Agnew (18) who both came in with a net 62, to take 2nd and 3rd places respectively.  They were both cut by two shots.  Burghley’s Keilin Harper (9) finished 5th with a net 66, and also recorded the best gross score of the day with his 75; Will Robinson (5) and Sanjay Nithiyilingam (2) shot gross 76.  Harper was cut to 7, which included an exceptional scoring reduction following his recent outstanding performance in the Club Championships.


Published: 10/08/2017





 
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