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Simon Byford’s golf column: One-year landmark as Thetford Golf Club hosts delayed competition

A quote that came to mind when I realised that this episode marks one year of my golf column was: ‘For the young, the days go fast and the years slow; for the old the days go slow and the years fast’ (Anna Quindlen).

In the first year we have had international victories from Tyler Weaver (Carris Trophy) and Alice Barlow (The Gold Rose).

We have seen our county teams have victories in both adult and junior matches, reported the inter-club knockouts and crowned the champions, and last but by no means least, reported the week’s golfing news across the area.

I’ve had an enormous amount of fun writing each week, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading.

Thetford GC

Some 33 teams of four took to the course on Saturday for the rescheduled Everyone’s a Winner Competition that was originally scheduled for December, but had to be postponed due to course closure.

Thetford’s captains at their Drive In on Saturday Picture: Gill Welham
Thetford’s captains at their Drive In on Saturday Picture: Gill Welham

The competition was a shotgun start with a Texas Scramble and at the end of the round the Captain’s Drive In followed.

The weather was bright, but cold with a chill wind. This did not deter the players who had all taken to the course by 8am.

First place had to be decided by The Count, with two teams returning an amazing nett 54. The nod went to Daryl Breen, Malcolm Fleet, Derrick Summers and Laura Todd with Owen Bailey-Edwards, Luke Churchill, Paula Claxton and Jason Edwards settling for second.

Third place again needed The Count, with three teams scoring a 57 nett. It was Chris Page, Mark Robson, Luke Sheppard and George Winstone who took the honours.

However, as the competition name suggests, everyone was a winner, no one went home without a prize, with last place being an hour’s golf lesson with club professional Stuart Smith.

Following the golf, the Captain’s Drive In took place. Unfortunately, club captain Kevin Cooke was unwell and sadly unable to take part.

However, Ladies’ captain Janet Dickson, Junior captain Ruby Reeve and Seniors captain Ian Bell all drove in with long, straight drives raising money for the club charity by members having to guess the total distance of the drives. The club charity this year is East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Stowmarket GC

The Stowmarket Men held a Stableford across the weekend.

As is the norm there were two divisions to play for. On the Saturday, it was Gus Cutting who scored 40 points to win Division One, Liam Double second on 39 and Colin Leathers with 36 points.

Division Two utilised The Count to decide the winner. Dan Jewers getting the win ahead of Phil Coleman after the pair both returned 35 points. Dan Allen was third on 34 points.

On the Sunday, it wasn’t a day of rest for The Count, who was called into action for both Division One and Two. Jimmy Stuart’s 37 points secured first place ahead of Henry Ridgeon, and Dan Sheldrake was one shot adrift in third with 36 points.

Division Two heralded George Prentice first on 38 points, deemed better than Den Andrews’ 38. Again, one shot back was third placed Simon Ager on 37 points.

The Suffolk GC

The Suffolk members held the third round of the Winter League. The best four scores from six rounds of Greensomes produces the winner. After round three, we start to see the cumulative scoreboard taking shape. In round three, it was Richard Budgen and Dave King who were victorious with 42 points.

The Count popped in to separate the two pairs on 41 points. Jackie and Peter Thomas gained second place with Gavin Hogg and Stephen Haygreen in third.

Despite losing out on countback in the third round, Gavin Hogg and Stephen Haygreen’s consistent play currently has them holding a five shot overall lead with 123 total points. In second are Ed Moore and Rob Shaw, who will be hoping to drop their 35 point round three score in the overall reckoning to move up the standings.

Tim Nickerson and Terry Hall are also in joint second on 118 points, and will need to better their 37 point lowest score to progress upward.

All to play for then as we enter round four next month.

Bury St Edmunds

The Men’s Winter Goblets round three was also held this past weekend. In similar fashion to that held at The Suffolk, the format is best three scores from four rounds, but using the foursomes gameplay.

This means scoring isn’t generally as high, but not on this occasion. Mirroring the scores at The Suffolk, two pairs returned 42 points. Even more remarkably, neither of those pairs were Nick Bonney and Colin Gray.

Dan Smith and Paul Smith were pleased with their score, which got the nod from The Count. However it was the sight of Stuart Turner practically skipping into the shop to proudly hand in his 42 points with partner Shaun Philips that was the highlight of the day. In his words, ‘I’ve played in this *expletive* competition for I don’t know how long and never got 40 points or more before.’ A moment to savour.

Alex Duhig and Gareth Douglas took third spot as they topped the three pairs that all scored 39 points.

In the overall table it is still Nick Bonney and Colin Gray on 117 points, but now their lead is only six points. If anyone can catch them, and there are potentially three pairs that could, the contenders will have to score 40+ points to overtake. This is only if Colin and Nick don’t better their 35 points which is currently their worst score.

As we look ahead to the new season, I’m sure many of you will be looking to improve your games in this calendar year, I just want to take this opportunity to wish you good luck in your golfing endeavours.