** New Club Champion **

Sunday 25th June saw the latest installment of the 36 hole Men’s Scratch Championship. As is the case these days, the field was small and select, with 7 players playing the first round, and just 5 making the full 2 laps of the Ricky track. Bright and dry conditions were the order of the day with the wind steadily creeping up later in the afternoon to really test the players out. Going out in the first group of the morning, 2015 champion Ben Plumridge posted a fine first round of 69 (+4), although he was slightly disappointed with his finish of 3 dropped shots in the last 3 holes. Playing together for round one, defending champion David Watson and 3 time runner-up David Hirst both got off to good steady starts, until the pair reached the 5th hole “Wall of Death” which lived up to its infamous nickname. A nasty thinned shot into the heavily roughed bank from Mr. Watson effectively ended his challenge early on, with a shell shocking five over par 8. Such mistakes are hard to recover from. Young Mr. Hirst, already winner of the 36 hole Montesole Cup last month, had a wobble around the turn but replied in great style with birdies on 13, 16 & 17 to catch Ben on 69. David W trailed in with a 73, four strokes back of the 2 young guns leading the charge.

And so onto Round 2, where the tension built and the action hotted up. It was David H that got off to a slow start with an uncharacteristic poor front 9, dropping 6 shots and seemingly opening the door to Ben. With a cross green, downhill, severely braking putt that hit the hole with some pace, Ben’s birdie 2 on the 5th hole gave him a commanding 5 shot lead. David W was plugging on, but an untimely lost ball on the par 3 7th killed off any realistic hope of a comeback.

And so onto the back 9…Ben holding a 3 stroke lead over David H, with David W 2 shots further back. After a dropped shot on the 11th from David H, the tide turned quicker than at Morecombe Bay. David H went into par mode and steadied his ship in the increasingly blustery conditions. The key moment came on the 14th tee with Ben losing his ball into the woods on the left, and taking a double bogey 6 to tie the scores on +11. The next 2 holes were matched before the killer blow was struck. A tracer like mid iron from the back tee into a 3 club wind on 17th was dispatched by David to 10 feet left of the flag. Ben’s reply didn’t pierce the howling summer wind and came up short of the putting surface. A crucial dropped shot from Ben handed David H a one stroke advantage on the 36th tee. After both players found the green in two, David holed out for the par to set Ben the target of making birdie for a playoff. Ben’s effort uphill from the right was a good one, but the ball just drifted off line and stayed above ground. Birthday boy David Hirst found a great way to celebrate his 23rd birthday, by becoming the Club’s new Scratch Champion. Many congratulations to David, for getting over the line after a few previous near misses. Commiserations to Ben who played some really good golf over the 2 rounds. For David W it was a case of ‘I should have taken a drop’! Both rounds were played in great spirit, just how it should be done. 

Final scores:

  1. David Hirst 69 + 73 = 142
  2. Ben Plumridge 69 + 74 = 143
  3. David Watson 73 + 72 = 145
Club Championship 2017

Club Championship 2017