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Simon Byford’s golf column: Royal Worlington’s Ben Kerr crowned Suffolk PGA Championship at Southwold Golf Club

The Suffolk PGA Championships were held at Southwold Golf Club with a format of 36 holes of strokeplay to determine the winner, and also the assistant’s championship on the same day.

Some 21 professionals battled tough conditions and the morning round was consequently cut to just holes. The greenstaff were out in force at lunchtime, changing holes and removing water from the greens to make the afternoon round possible.

It was the Felixstowe Ferry pair of head professional Andrew Robinson and assistant Sam Forgan who topped the leaderboard after the first round, with Sam shooting 33 and Andrew 34.

Terence Broome presenting Ben Kerr with the Suffolk PGA Championship trophy Picture: Trevor Mason
Terence Broome presenting Ben Kerr with the Suffolk PGA Championship trophy Picture: Trevor Mason

Ben Kerr (Royal Worlington) and Will Farley (IndoorOutdoor Golf) were one shot further behind on 35.

In the afternoon the weather improved and the scoring got better. It was Ben Kerr who took full advantage and posted the lowest round of the day with a 3 under par 67.

This left him on three under par total and the score to beat.

Sam Forgan could only manage a level par afternoon round for a two under par total, which gave Ben Kerr the title, and another trophy heading to West Suffolk!

Speaking afterwards, Kerr said: “We were fortunate to get a pretty dry second round, and Sam played great.

“He had two chances for birdie on 17 from 10 feet and 18 from 20 feet, but unfortunately for him they both slid by.”

The consolation for Sam was that he was crowned the assistant’s champion, with Charlie Sadler (Culford School) flying up the afternoon leaderboard with a 70 to finish second in the assistants, and third overall.

Congratulations Ben, and thanks to Terrence Broome, Tony Pennock and all the Suffolk PGA staff for their hard work throughout the year.

The Suffolk

You know we are getting close to Haloween when The Count is required to determine the winner of every event at The Suffolk this week.

First up was the Saturday Stableford, with the top two players both posting 38 points.

The Count determined that James Laflin held the majority of the chips and was the winner, ahead of Rhys Nightingale.

The Sunday iteration of the Stableford again had two players return 38 points, but this time it was Stephen Haygreen who emerged from the calculations on top ahead of Len Hopkinson.

Continuing the spooky theme, the Seniors Stableford held the next day also had two players finishing on 38 points – coincidence, I think not!

Ian Jonsson topped the back nine with Brian Crack having to settle for second.


The Thetford men held the Bill Jennings Trophy, for the medal and board competition winners through the year.

Ian Harvey was the winner with a nett 75, one shot ahead of the next two players.

The Count dashed over from The Suffolk to perform the necessaries, and it was Jack Chiu who was awarded second and Adam Pringle third.

59 Senior men competed in the Mid Week Stableford.

In Division One, Trevor Wignall was the winner with 38 points (not again) and Tom Langlands second with 37.

It wasn’t quite time however for The Count to retire back to Transylvania as Division Two had two players on 41 points.

Derek Barton was deemed the winner in front of Tony Gearing.

Bury St Edmunds

The Watson Quaich is a fourball better ball Stableford which draws to a close the Captain/Pro challenge matches played throughout the year.

It is followed by a meal and the highly anticipated speech by the head professional.

Matt Alderton is now fully in the swing of these speeches, having had some big shoes to fill after Mark Jillings’ retirement.

The men’s captain John Reed and Matt played 13 matches against the top qualifying pairs in the Feb-April qualifying period, which always means they have a tough task on their hands.

The challenge matches are always played in good spirit, but the challengers need to be on their guard, as any faux pas or particularly amusing shots will be duly noted for the speech.

The challenge match series was won by Stuart Lowe and Steve Jones, who recorded the highest victory against the Capt/Pro.

It was also the same in the Quaich, with the pair returning 43 points, one shot ahead of Mike Verhelst& David Matter.

Sam Renville continued his remarkable 2023 season by picking up the Scratch Trophy.

The competition sees the top eight gross qualifiers from the BSE Club Championship, seeded in a knockout draw.

Unfortunately, just like the Suffolk President’s Mashie we reported on previously, Ben Aves was Sam’s opponent in the final.

It is testament to both players that they have managed to reach these two finals in the last month, but it was Sam that prevailed again.

There was a Mid Week Mixed Stableford for the Bury members, and to round out The Count’s tour around the county, three players returned the top score of 34.

Peter Niemy took the top spot, with Conor Bignell second and Julie Byford third.

With the weather starting to turn, keep enjoying our sport and make sure you all have a great golfing week.