Chris Boughton's golf column:Rhys Nightingale masters heavy rain to take the title at The Suffolk GC while Thetford stages national Pro-Am
The weather forecast for day one of The Suffolk GC Club Championships last Saturday was grim. Persistent rain showers were expected all day with thunderstorms due to arrive late morning.
I listened to club pro, Steve Hall, giving out detailed and clear instructions on how to promptly respond if the storm warning siren is sounded during play, as golfers arrived for their three ball tee times.
It was 7.30am and the low handicappers were already under way and getting very wet as the rain bucketed down. I was there to take photos but left my camera in the car and considered a swift retreat home to review what I could write about instead of the Suffolk’s Club Championships, which seemed doomed for this year.
But the rain stopped 15 minutes later and did not return, and the thunder never appeared, and the only physical discomfort was relatively high humidity.
Considering the heavy rain early on the course played reasonably well and the scores were generally better than feared.
In the men’s competition Rhys Nightingale had the best gross day one score with 73 followed by Chris Tate with 75 and my old golfing mate, Richard Tungate, with 77.
John Dale kept up his recent good form (he won the club’s mid-week competition last week) with a leading nett return of 66. John was closely followed by Stephen
Haygreen and Pete Lewis with nett 67s.
On day two Rhys added a round of 74 to his first round 73 to be crowned club champion (Gross) for 2021. His combined two round score of 147 was six shots better than second
placed Chris Tate. Len Hopkinson’s gross 75 was the second lowest score on Sunday and he finished up in third place overall.
In the men’s nett competition, Richard Budgen had a combined two-day nett score of 139, just pushing John Dale into the runners-up spot on count-back.
In the Ladies’ competition Andrea Leigh returned the leading gross score on day one, with Angie Lewis lying second. Emilie Thomas had the leading nett score on day one but returned the best gross score on day two to take both the nett and gross Ladies’ Club Champion’s titles for 2021. Andrea had a disappointing day two and ended up runner-up gross and in third place nett. Angie
Lewis was runner-up nett.
PGA National Pro-Am Championship
The regional round of the PGA National Pro-Am was held at Thetford GC last week where local club PGA Professionals teamed up with their club’s Pro-Am competition winners.
The prize on offer was a place in the all-expenses paid final at the Antalya Golf Club in Turkey at the end of November.
Steve Hall (PGA Pro and director of golf at The Suffolk) took part with Dom Absolon (club member), and despite this being the first round of golf for 18 months, for Steve, they dovetailed brilliantly to win the regional qualifier. Covid permitting, they will journey to Turkey for four days on November 21. A stunning performance with both golfers crediting the other for
their winning achievement! Good luck to them in November.
Suffolk County Golf Union
The Suffolk GC are the only local team remaining in the Suffolk County Men’s Hambro team competition after beating Bungay by 13 in the second round.
Stowmarket were knocked out by Newton Green and Bury GC, who have a superb record in this competition in recent years, crashed out at Rookery Park.
The Suffolk, who have their strongest team for several years, face Diss away in the quarter finals on July 18.
On the same day Stowmarket host Hintlesham in the quarter-finals of the Tolly Cup after a fine victory over Felistowe, always tough opponents.
Flempton were knocked out in the first round and Bury GC and the Suffolk GC departed the competition in round two.
Stowmarket Golf Club
Eighty-two ladies took to the Stowmarket course on June 23 to support their captain, Di Evans, and take part in the competition she had organised for her Captain’s Day.
The winning team, with a score of 87 points, was Clare Peck, Teresa Wardlaw, Yvonne Hollis and Kim Davis, while the runners-up, on 83, were Kelly Withers, Jackie Crame,
Bev Gray and Mo Lloyd.
Third place, with 79, went to Belinda Aldous, Jacqueline Tarabella, Ann Basey-Fisher and Judith Cameron.
Instead of the usual drive-in off the first tee, Di drove off the 12th with each team in turn, meaning that she took no fewer than 21 drives! The longest drive was measured at 175 yards, giving the prize to Stowmarket professional Jon Markham.
The money raised from the drive-in, plus the amount generated from a raffle, saw a total of £568 donated to the captain’s charity, which this year is the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
Fiona Ferrie is the Stowmarket GC 2021 Ladies’ Club Champion winning the Jenny Seeley Shield recently at the club. Dawn Flood won the Phyl Morris Cup for the best nett score. Sammy Annis was runner-up gross and Jo Finter runner-up nett.