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Simon Byford’s golf column: Suffolk Golf Club’s Men’s first team travel to Seacroft Golf Club with action from Thetford and Bury St Edmunds Golf Clubs





The Suffolk Men’s first team travelled to Seacroft Golf Club for the Eastern Inter Counties Foursomes. The format was our old friend the triangular matchplay, and with 72 holes of competition across two days, the stage was set for a big weekend.

Suffolk faced Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire on the first morning. Lincolnshire looked very strong and Suffolk only managed 3.5 points from a possible 10. Jack Cardy and Will Wright were the main highlight, winning both their matches.

The Saturday afternoon matches saw Suffolk face Norfolk and Northamptonshire. It was a better afternoon as Suffolk picked up 5.5 points, including maximums from Sam Renville and Connor Talbot, and Jack and Will again.

Will Wright and Jack Cardy went unbeaten for Suffolk as they helped them to a record second-placed finish at the Eastern Inter Counties Foursomes Picture: Suffolk Golf Union
Will Wright and Jack Cardy went unbeaten for Suffolk as they helped them to a record second-placed finish at the Eastern Inter Counties Foursomes Picture: Suffolk Golf Union

Sunday morning meant Essex and Bedfordshire for the team. Top pair Ben Sayers and Max Weaver set the tone by dominating both opponents to take their two points. Jimmy Price and Russell Oakey added another 1.5 points with a strong performance whilst Gregor and Josh had really started to click and got two more. New boys Sam and Connor contributed another point, proving they belonged in this team.

Meanwhile, Will Wright and Jack Cardy were brewing something special with another two victories maintaining a 100 per cent record with just one round remaining. And 8.5 points was a fantastic return, leaving Suffolk in second place.

Also tied for second was Leicestershire and they were up next for the confident Suffolk side. BB&O (one team made up of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxon) were only one place behind and made up the triangle in session 4.

This was a tough session and with Lincs now out of sight this match was seen as the race for second.

Max and Ben went about setting the right example again, dismantling more opponents and taking two points. Russell and Jimmy met tough pairs and despite a great battle could not manage to add to their morning tally.

However, Gregor and Josh managed to flip both their matches late on to shock their opponents and steal all the points again. Connor and Sam were brave but couldn’t beat some top quality opposition meaning the race for second was all on one match. Eyes turned quickly to Suffolk’s 100 per cent club.

Could Jack and Will make history twice by guiding Suffolk to second? It would deliver their best ever finish in the event. Could they also be the first Suffolk players ever to get eight points from eight? Was there even a doubt? Jack and Will stormed both their matches to give Suffolk 23.5 points and second place.

Nellie Ong

Thetford Golf Club and Culford pupil Nellie Ong continued her outstanding start to the 2024 season by winning the Welsh Women’s Championship at Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club.

Hot on the heels of second-placed finishes in the Scottish Girl’s Championship, and then the Scottish Open Championship, Nellie landed this prestigious title, the biggest win of her career to date.

Going into the final round a couple behind the leader, and facing heavy rain, Nellie delivered an outstanding final round of seven-under-par to win the prestigious 54-hole event with and 11-under-par total.

Nellie said: “I have come close to winning the last three weeks so I cannot believe I have taken that step.

“I felt I just had to keep pushing so I just stuck to my game-plan, I liked the course, and I gave myself a lot of opportunities on the back nine.

“This is a big confidence boost ahead of the British Amateur at Portmarnock.”

Nellie continues to work on her game at Thetford in between sitting her A-levels over the coming weeks. Once complete she picks up her golf season with some major tournaments and, as an England squad member, hopefully the chance to represent her country.

Thetford GC

Thetford’s scratch team recorded another great result with a win over Gog Magog in the Five Counties Scratch League.

The team nearly completed a clean sweep, winning seven-and-a-half out of a maximum available eight points. It was the third match the team have played this year, winning all of them, with previous victories against Luffenham Heath and John O’Gaunt Golf Club.

Team captain, Matt Harben, was delighted by the result.

He said: “This was an outstanding win against a very strong Gogs side.

“Our squad has been strengthened this year with new team members who have joined Thetford because the course and its condition are so good.

“We now have a run of away matches which is always tough, but I know my team will rise to the challenge.”

Bury St Edmunds GC

Some 141 players competed in the latest of the Founders Events at Bury, The JS Austen Stableford.

John S Austen was a businessman, solicitor and keen sportsman, and he lived at Plumpton Hall in Whepstead. In 1926 he was high sherriff of Suffolk, and a notable financial benefactor who gave a substantial sum, £1,000, for the creation of the first clubhouse. This represented 18 per cent of the funds he, and his fellow founders, were trying to raise to start a golf club. In today’s terms it represents a figure of circa £100k.

Ian Squirrell topped Division One with 42 points, Chris Harris was second on 39. Division Two saw Andy Donnison produce the round of the day to score 43 points. Second was Sean Frost-Palmer on 42. Division Three was won by Maximus Watson on 41 points, Clive Wilson was second with 35.

Have a great golfing week.