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Simon Byford’s golf column: Bury St Edmunds feature prominently at Suffolk Amateur Matchplay finals at Stowmarket Golf Club

With a pair of semi-finals in the morning and a final in the afternoon, it was a full day of highly competitive golf.

The men’s semi-finals featured Ruben Harvey (Aldebrugh) against Ben Aves (Bury St Edmunds) which saw Ben Aves triumph 2&1.

Bury St Edmunds GC's Sam Renville with The President's Mashie at the Suffolk Amateur Matchplay Championships at Stowmarket GC Picture: Simon Byford
Bury St Edmunds GC's Sam Renville with The President's Mashie at the Suffolk Amateur Matchplay Championships at Stowmarket GC Picture: Simon Byford

The other semi comprised Thomas Piddington (Felixstowe Ferry) and Sam Renville (Bury St Edmunds). It was a close game with Sam going 1up on the 15th and then winning the 17th to run out a 2&1 win.

That meant an all-Bury St Edmunds final was in store, and it was Ben who got off to the quicker start, winning the 5th. Sam replied winning the 7th and 10th to go 1up, but Ben retaliated winning the 11th to return the match to all-square. The match turned in Sam’s favour on the 17th when his par was good enough to win the hole, but the match still had one hole to go.

The 18th at Stowmarket is a short par 3, but with the pressure on, both players missed the green. However, Sam was to play first and he chipped up to within gimmie distance. This meant Ben had to hole his chip shot to force a play-off, and when his shot narrowly missed, it was Sam Renville who was crowned the 2023 matchplay champion and presented with the Presidents Mashie.

Sam becomes the first winner from Bury St Edmunds for more than 20 years since Lawrence Dodd won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002.

In the Junior event it was another west Suffolk golfer, Jack Rust (Flempton, BSE, Culford), who took top spot, beating William Adams (Felixstowe Ferry) by one hole.

The Senior final was contested between Paul Buckle (Aldeburgh) and Steven Duffety (Bury St Edmunds). Unfortunately it wasn’t to be a triumvirate of Bury winners as Paul was the victor 2&1.

The win capped a great season for Paul Buckle who adds the Senior Matchplay Platten Salver to the Senior Amateur Strokeplay title he won earlier in the year.

Congratulations to all the winners and well done to Stowmarket GC for hosting.

Bury St Edmunds GC

The ladies Lay Cup is always a popular event at Bury St Edmunds. The format is three medal cards that can be submitted anytime within the two month period, but all three cards count. This means there is no room for a bad round, and the most consistent players (to their handicap) always rise to the top.

Sue Russell continued her fantastic year of competitive golf by running away with the Lay Cup by nine shots. Her nett scores of 69, 68 and 74 (total 211) showed why she was the deserving winner.

Christine Tilbrook was second with 220 (84, 65, 71) and Heather Chandler third on 222 (70, 78, 74).

The ladies Summer Knockout events have also come to a close recently. The Parkington Trophy, which is the singles event, was won by Joan Garrett, beating Pam Madams in the final.

The Dawson Trophy is the ladies pairs event, playing foursomes matchplay. Bianca Theeruth & Heather Chandler beat Salome Smit & Josie Aves in the final.

The Pat Boult Salver and Joan O’Meara Knockouts are ‘top 8’ qualifier events from a strokeplay competition. The Pat Boult is for higher handicaps and was won by Audrey Finch, who was victorious over Teresa Smith in the final. The Joan O’Meara is open to all handicap ranges, and was won by Jasmine Points, who beat Joi Beresford in the final.

The Chairman’s Bowl is a season long singles matchplay event for the Senior Men. The finalists Andy McKee and Mike Brooks had been victorious in five previous rounds to reach the final, which meant the final would be hotly contested between two in-form players. It was Mike Brooks who emerged victorious to claim the prize and yet another trophy to his collection.

The Bury members also competed in the October Mixed Midweek Medal. Rob Hills navigated the windy conditions the best and sailed his way to tope spot. His nett 71 just pipped Michael Tebbutt by a short head into second, but it was even closer for Michael behind as he needed a photo finish (administered by The Count of course) to edge ahead of John Staab and Tom Crouch. All three players returning a nett 72.

Ryder Cup

Finally it would be remiss of me not to mention The Ryder Cup. What a weekend of top quality golf and a massive congratulations to Europe. It is always a fantastic event, that draws in not only golf fans, but sports fans in general. As much as this column is predominantly a round-up of the competitive golfing scene, events like The Ryder Cup remind me that we can all enjoy golf at whatever level we want. Whether it is a casual round on our local 9 hole course, hitting balls at the range or competing in club, regional or national events, golf really is a sport for all. We need to remember this and always strive to keep it that way.

Have a great golfing week.