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Simon Byford’s golf column: Rhys Nightingale wins championship at The Suffolk Golf Club for third straight year





The Suffolk

The Suffolk Club Championship is always a highlight in the calendar, and not many clubs do it in a more fun and inclusive way.

Rhys Nightingale is a three-time winner now of The Suffolk's Club Championship Picture: Chris Boughton
Rhys Nightingale is a three-time winner now of The Suffolk's Club Championship Picture: Chris Boughton

It all starts the week prior to the championships, where the traditional Auction Special takes place.

Competitors go out in a shotgun start for a fun Stableford competition, this year won by Edward Moore with 42 points, and our old friend countback was needed to separate Edward and Martin Levens who also returned 42 points.

Then The Suffolk members gather in the clubhouse and auction all of the championship competitors.

Rhys Nightingale is a three-time winner now of The Suffolk's Club Championship Picture: Chris Boughton
Rhys Nightingale is a three-time winner now of The Suffolk's Club Championship Picture: Chris Boughton

It is a chance to show your support for the contenders, back yourself to do well, and generally adds another dimension to the event. Syndicates form to bid on the favourites, and the monies raised get divided back into both the gross and nett top runners.

So onto the championship itself, and it was Chris Tate & Rhys Nightingale atop the leaderboard after day one. Rhys returned an excellent two-over-par 74, and Chris with 79. The nett scoring saw Paul Dobbyn lead with a 68, one shot ahead of Alf Jackson & John Dale.

Day two in the nett saw John Dale return the best score (68) of the day to claim the nett prize, a total of 137 and at 70-years-old, the oldest nett winner in championship history at the club. Special mention to Graham Chapman for his second round 69, having just made the cut (nett 80 or better) he charged up the leaderboard more than 20 places in round two.

The gross championship was a celebration for Rhys Nightingale who returned the lowest scores in both round one and two (74 & 76) to take the title for the third year running. Congratulations Rhys on a fantastic weekend and continued success in this event.

The Bury St Edmunds Ladies Stearn team
The Bury St Edmunds Ladies Stearn team

The Ladies’ Club Championships at The Suffolk is a 36 hole nett competition, and Sheila Burns’ total of 146 (74 & 72) was good enough to win by 21 shots. Congratulations Sheila on two amazingly consistent rounds, and the deserved prize.

In true Suffolk style, those who don’t make the Saturday cut still have a prize to play for in the ‘Best Of The Rest’ Stableford competition held on day two. Richard Clegg returned 38 points, wishing he had found that form 24 hours earlier.

Stowmarket

As Championship season continues, Stowmarket held their Junior Club Championship.

With both gross and nett prizes awarded in this 36 hole event, it is a chance for juniors of all handicap standards to compete. the gross prize was won by Ollie Grogan (80 & 83) who’s 163 total gave him a 2 shot victory over Lucas Britten. The nett prize went to Henry Ridgeon with 135, one shot ahead of Reece (the younger) Edwards.

A big congratulations to Ollie and Henry, we look forward to watching your continued progress.

Stowmarket also held their Daily Mail Foursomes qualifier this week, and good old CountBack was employed to determine the winner. 40 points was the winning score, but is was Anna Suggest & Amanda Davies who were the right side of the calculation, with Mary Ransome & Amanda Rush settling for second. Third place on 39 points was Jane Holley & Tracey Delaney.

Bury St Edmunds

The Bury St Edmunds Ladies Stearn team finally got their campaign underway with a 4 1/2 - 1 1/2 victory over Thorpeness on neutral ground at Fynn Valley. After winning the morning matches 3-0, just half a point was needed in the afternoon, but despite a comeback from Thorpeness Bury tied the afternoon series 1 1/2 apiece.

Over 150 male members of Bury St Edmunds competed for two of the club’s major honours, the Whitbread Trophy & Dunget Salver. Played for in 2 Divisions, the Whitbread is for lower handicaps, with the higher players competing for the Dunget in this stableford competition. In the Whitbread Trophy Ian Malyon returned a fantastic 44 points with Ian Howell not quite coming to the boil at the right time to be pipped into second with 42 points. In The Dunget Salver Andrew Cusworth contained the opposition and steered his ship home for a great 43 points, but CountBack was required to separate four players for runner up spot. A close run calculation went to the aptly named Tim Tyte who squeezed out Ian Levett, Rob Armour & Conor Bignell.

There was also a mixed stableford at Bury St Edmunds. Molly Smith was top of the class with her 42 points, and you guessed it, CountBack was called into action again for the 39 pointers in second place. One could feel sorry for Conor Bignell who again lost out, this time to Mark Merrium, but Conor will proudly tell you he currently holds his lowest ever handicap (I also hear he has a good coach!).

There is a big week ahead with both Bury St Edmunds & Stowmarket holding their Club Championships this weekend, so all the best to those competing and for everyone else have a great golfing week.