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Simon Byford’s golf column: Aldeburgh Golf Club’s Paul Buckle continues his recent run of positive county form

To be successful in a County Championship is a once in a career moment for most golfers, but to have held six of the Suffolk Golf Union’s most coveted pieces of silverware is a remarkable and unique achievement. This is the feat achieved this week by Aldeburgh’s Paul Buckle.

A legend of Suffolk golf does not do anywhere near enough justice for Paul’s accolades, but the list of trophies gives a good indication of his commitment over many years.

He had previously won the Suffolk Junior Championship, Suffolk Amateur Foursomes and Suffolk Amateur Championship. Also the Suffolk Open Foursomes & Suffolk Open Championship in which Professionals and Amateurs compete. This past week he added the Suffolk Seniors Championship to the collection.

Suffolk’s victorious U14s boys’ team, above; George Fricker, top right; and Paul Buckle, bottom right.
Suffolk’s victorious U14s boys’ team, above; George Fricker, top right; and Paul Buckle, bottom right.

Suffolk Seniors Championship

The Seniors Championship this year was held at Seckford Golf Club, and after a suspension in play for inclement weather, the clouds cleared to leave a much improved afternoon.

The scoring was mixed as you would expect at a Championship, but Buckle’s gross 67 was good enough to win by two strokes. Simon Goldsmith (Rookery Park) was second, on countback, with 69 from Peter Revell (Bungay & Waveney Valley) on the same score.

There was also nett prizes on the day split up into age categories. The youngsters in the 55-61 bracket was won by Martin Gillett (Thorndon Park) scoring a nett 68. The 62-69 victor was Nigel Fosker (Felixstowe Ferry) with a 64. The 70+ Champion however would have swept the board, returning an amazing nett 63 was David Kelly of Rookery Park.

To round out the competitions on the day was the Suffolk Seniors Team Championship, in which the three best gross scores from each club are taken.

Bury St Edmunds finished third, but Aldebugh and Woodbridge were tied on 217, and you know what that means! A team countback had to be performed (I personally wish I’d been there to oversee that) and Woodbridge just edged it.

The team of Mark Jackson, Bryan Lee (both shooting 72) and John Newsome (73) were presented with the Michael Thomas Trophy.

Suffolk Amateur Championship

Ipswich Golf Club was the venue for the Suffolk Amateur Championship, which consisted of a gruelling format of 54 holes over two days.

The first day is an 18-hole shootout, with the top 34 players qualifying for 36 more holes on Sunday.

Remarkably after day one, all the qualifiers were within five shots of the lead, with six players tying for the lead with gross 71.

Bury St Edmunds held out most hope with Ben Aves, Sam Renville and Dan Smailes occupying half of the top spots. The leadership was rounded out by Sam Debenham (Hintlesham), Daniel Nicholls (Felixstowe Ferry) and George Fricker (Woodbridge).

With 36 holes on day two, there was the potential for anyone to come out of the pack, and for the leaders to drop away. In searing heat this is exactly what happened. Marc Duszynski (Ipswich), Tom Fowler (Woodbridge) and Ben Leuty (Gorleston) followed their 72 from day one with a 71 to move up the leaderboard, but George Fricker extended his lead with a 69, giving him a three-shot margin with 18 holes remaining.

George’s consistent play was rewarded in round three as he returned a gross 70 for a 3 under par 54 hole total of 210. Marc Duszynski held on to second place with a 74 in round three for a 217 total. The nett prize was won by Ben Leuty.

Congratulations to George Fricker who adds the Suffolk Amateur to his Suffolk Junior Championship of 2019 and is one step closer to Buckle’s record.

Suffolk U14 Boys

The Suffolk Junior coaching programme, of which George Fricker is an alumni member, continues to succeed as the Under-14 boys headed to Fynn Valley for the annual Triangular match against Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

We have spoken about triangular matches before, but a reminder this is a match vs two other golfers at the same time - a difficult and often confusing format.

Bury St Edmunds were proud to have 50 per cent of the eight-player team, with Jacob Severn, Shae Baldwin, Lucas Bond and Ethan McCleary. Stowmarket were represented by Finley (the Elder) Edwards, also playing were James Sadler (Ipswich), Max Elliot (Gorleston) and George McClellan (Newton Green).

The 27-hole match consisted of nine holes foursomes (yes that’s six golfers per group) then 18 holes singles. With a total of 24 points up for grabs, the Suffolk boys took 16.5, Cambridgeshire 10.5 and Norfolk nine points.

Well done to the next generation, Suffolk is in good hands.

Thetford GC

Josh Loosemore has recently joined the professional team at Thetford GC as assistant PGA Professional to develop his career under the guidance of head professional Stuart Smith.

The 25-year-old from Wisbech will be starting his PGA training later this year having graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a Bachelor of Science 1st class degree and a Masters in Sports Psychology.

Good luck to Josh in his role at Thetford, we wish him all the best.

There was lots of other local golf played but that will have to wait for next week. For now, however, have a great golfing week.