Chris Boughton's golf column: Craig Nurse, Alice Barlow and Tyler Weaver among the winners at Bury St Edmunds' Club Championships
More than 180 members teed off last Saturday in the first round of this year’s Club Championships at Bury St Edmunds on a course that was in exceptional condition.
Tyler Weaver followed up his victory in the Faldo Under-16 Competition the previous week to win the Junior Bone Trophy Championship with a stunning two-day gross score of 73+71=144. His younger brother Max was runner-up and Paul Collingworth came third.
The Weaver brothers are both England internationals and will be looking to build on their successes as more regional events are starting to open up.
In the Men’s Championship, Sam Renville returned a gross 71 to lead by three shots after the first round followed by four golfers scoring 74 (Craig Nurse, Teddy Hall, Adam Hooper-Greenhill & Dan Smailes). But Nurse added a 72 on day two to be crowned men’s club champion with an overall gross return of 74+72=146. Renville had to settle for the runner-up slot with 71+76=147 and Teddy Hall came third.
Nurse, who was previously men’s club champion in 2017, is a powerful player, hits the ball a long way and took full advantage of the course set up. He was understandably delighted with the result and proudly told me: “I played lovely today; level par to win by one, I was one behind Sam going down 17 but I made par and he bogeyed. On 18 we both had 200 yards in. He went long, I was short left. However, I chipped to a foot and he didn’t get up and down. Today felt like a good under par round in tougher conditions”.
The Bobby Jones Trophy winner (men’s nett) for 2020 is Gareth Douglas with 72+69=141, one shot better than another young rising star Josh Nichols. The 2019 men’s nett champion, Marcus Price, came third.
Alice Barlow defended her Lady’s Club Championship with a superb 7-under-par 141. Being 7-under-par through 10 holes on Saturday, Barlow was flying and to finish with a 70 was a little disappointing for her.
Simon Byford, PGA Pro at the club said: “The 40-year-old course record of 70 at Bury St Edmunds is certainly in her sights, and following her Saturday round with a 3 under 71 meant that she retained her title in style”.
Barlow said: “My putting and Green Reading were great all weekend, especially holing everything inside 15 feet and a few bonus 30-40ft putts.”
She is a regular member of the Suffolk county team and multiple winner of the Suffolk Matchplay Championship and finished 19 shots ahead of runner-up Mariette Robbertse with Beverley Allen third.
General manger, Mike Verhelst added: “Head greenkeeper Tom Smart and his team have worked tirelessly to present the course in excellent condition, and with 250 rounds played over the weekend, the course stood up to the test.”
The Suffolk Golf Club
The Absolon family dominated the Medal last Saturday at the Suffolk GC. Both returned good scores of nett 68 with Jonathan taking top spot on count-back from Dominic. Jim Chapman came third on count-back also returning a score of 68.
Len Hopkinson leads the Saturday Order of Merit with 22 points.
It was the Sturgeon family who did well again in the midweek Stableford on Wednesday at the club. Michael finished in 2nd place with 39 points and James came 3rd with 37.
But it was 2 handicapper Rhys Nightingale who picked up another win with a two under gross score that yielded 40 Stableford points. He recorded birdies on the 6th, 7th, 9th and 15th holes and bogies on 8th and 15th. The rest of his holes were all pars.
James Sturgeon still leads the weekend Order of Merit table with 41 points, James Edgar is 2nd with 33 and Lenny Hopkinson third with 32.
Joan Plumb also scored 40 points on her way to winning the club’s Ladies’ Wednesday Stableford competition. Emilie Thomas came second with 39 and Andrea Leigh was 3rd.
The age difference between Joan and Emilie is 65 years. It is remarkable how the golf handicap system levels the playing field and removes any suggestion of ageism. There are radical controversial changes on the near horizon (introduction delayed by Covid-19) for the golf handicap system. Let’s hope it does not undermine what already works well.
Please note that the correct email address for entries to the Suffolk GC Charity Day on Sunday, September 13 is: email@example.com
Michael Thompson was the big winner on the PGA Tour this week, and Renato Parratore won the British Masters on the European Tour. Neither will be household names to many, but their dedication and work on their craft shows once again that one should never give up.
The tours move on to the first WGC event (St Jude Classic) and The English Open at Hanbury Manor. This exciting six week stretch of UK events hopefully signals more professional golf in Britain in the future.
Continuing their successful run of picks (Both Van Rooyen & Fleetwood missed the cut last week!) Adam Trett is selecting John Rahm & Simon Byford is going for channel favourite Daniel Berger.
Join Simon and Adam on Wednesday night at 8:30pm live on their PGALife365 YouTube channel to have your pick and be in with a chance of a special prize this week. Also check out their latest Nearest the Pin challenge at Bury.