Berks Bucks & Oxon Golf
Message from the County Secretary/Treasurer – Peter York
We have had an exceptionally busy season with the 11 Nike Futures Tour Championships for our Under 12 and Under 14 players, once again, proving immensely popular. The Orders of Merit for these Championships and the one for the Men will all go down to the last event before we know who will win. George Gardner (Castle Royle) has comfortably won the Junior Order of Merit and he has now been selected a couple of times for the 1st Team and has won all his games. His terrific year has been rewarded with an England Cap and he will be off to Canada in September.
I’m afraid I have to report a lack of success in all three South East Group Qualifiers. Our best chance came in the 1st team event when we led in the morning but played poorly in the afternoon. The Seniors and Boys teams had a good chance after reasonable morning performances but, despite improving in the afternoon, we had too much ground to make up and finished 4th and 5th respectively. One year soon, I am confident we are going to win a couple of these. We have too much talent out there for us to keep falling at the last fence.
We finished 2nd in the 1st Team League this year as we lost to Hertfordshire in our last game. We needed a big win to overhaul the Essex game points difference and it never looked likely. However, our Seniors look good for a win in their League and a draw against Middlesex in the last game will be good enough. The Under 16s won their League and the Under 14s finished 2nd on game points difference from Hertfordshire. Not a bad effort from all our teams. Our U14s Manager Peter Smith is standing down after a number of years and we would like to thank him for his valuable contribution. Anyone interested in taking on this role can see details on our website.
Well done to all the players mentioned in these Jottings, especially to David Langley (Castle Royle) who won the Amateur Championship, George Gardner (Castle Royle), the Junior Champion and George Wilson (Calcot Park) the Seniors Champion.
We started our League fixtures with a narrow victory against Middlesex at Woburn on 11th May. Having lost the morning Foursomes we went on to win the afternoon Singles.
Team at Woburn: Craig Buttivant (Gerrards Cross), James Foster (Newbury & Crookham), Kevin Freeman (Stoke Park), Jack Haines (Gerrards Cross), Andrew Lynch (Stoke Park), Malcolm Reid (Sonning), Ryan Thrussell (Woburn), Sam Whitehead (Woburn).
Essex hosted our next League match at Boyce Hill on 25th May. This is a James Braid designed hilly course, with difficult greens which needs to be played several times to truly understand the nature of the course. Unfortunately we had a disrupted practice round due to lightening which meant that only part of the course had been seen by the team and not at all by some. Nevertheless, the team put up a good showing and a hotly contested Foursomes session saw the scores even at the break at 2-2. Both sides mixed up their line up in the afternoon and most games remained very close up to the last few holes - the match ebbed and flowed but was really looking like a draw and with a mid order game going up the last all square there was all to play for. Both teams and supporters were gathered round the last in an exciting finish but with both players missing their putts a halved game and match was the final outcome.
Team at Boyce Hill: Craig Buttivant (Gerrards Cross), Freddie Edmunds (East Berkshire), James Foster (Newbury & Crookham), Jack Haines (Gerrards Cross), Jean-Michel Hall (Woburn), David Langley (Castle Royle), Ashley Walton (Frilford Heath), James Yeomans (Buckinghamshire).
Our next League match against Bedfordshire was held at Woburn on 3rd August where we were successful in winning the morning Foursomes 3-1 and the afternoon Singles 5-3.
Team at Woburn: Kevin Freeman (Stoke Park), George Gardner (Castle Royle), Jack Haines (Gerrards Cross), Jean-Michel Hall (Woburn), David Langley (Castle Royle), Alex Wills (Harewood Downs), George Wilson (Calcot Park), James Yeomans (Buckinghamshire).
A disappointing end to our Daily Telegraph Salver defence as we lost to Hertfordshire at West Hertfordshire on 31st August. We needed a big win to overhaul Essex who had already played all their matches and after the Foursomes were halved, we still had a chance. Taking 6 points out of 8 in the Singles is always a very big task and despite taking 2 points from the first 3, we didn't look like achieving the result as we were down in two more games. The tail didn't wag at the end and we eventually came second best in the Singles too. Hertfordshire took the match 6½-5½ and Essex won the League title, being undefeated.
Team at West Hertfordshire: Harry Collins (Frilford Heath), Freddie Edmunds (East Berkshire), James Foster (Newbury & Crookham), George Gardner (Castle Royle), Chris Little (Frilford Heath), Ashley Walton (Frilford Heath), George Wilson (Calcot Park), James Yeomans (Buckinghamshire).
The Elite team were involved in a real cracker, at Moor Park against Hertfordshire, on a largely dry but cloudy day. The High Course was in excellent condition with the undulating greens testing the boys’ putting ability. The course has benefitted from some recent updating and has again established itself as one of the premier courses in the South East. The morning Foursomes matches were played off the white tee markers, which were some way forward of the official white posts. The course played was therefore shy of the official 6,717 yards but was still of sufficient length given the recent rainfall. We played very well in the morning Foursomes, winning three and losing two of the games. The two games lost were tight affairs with Hertfordshire coming out on top by the slenderest of margins.
For the afternoon Singles the boys were asked to play off the ‘White posts’. They would therefore be tested off the full 6,717 yards. With the Carris Trophy and South Eastern Junior Championship being played over the High Course this summer it was seen as an ideal opportunity for the boys to play the course off the back tees, although new ‘Blue tees’, which has added another 230 yards, are now in use.
Chris Little, captain of the Elite squad, lead the afternoon Singles against Luke Hynes. This game was always tight although Chris was seldom behind and eventually closed it out on the 17th. John Gough, seldom ahead, fought manfully, from 2 down with 3 to play, to secure a half against Robert Shaw. John managed to get ‘up and down’ on each of the last 4 holes to halve his game. George Gardner, in game 3, was very slow out of the traps going 3 down to his opponent by the 7th hole but then turned round the game in spectacular fashion, eventually running out the 4&3 victor. Alex Buckner was up against the very impressive lefty, Connor O’Brien, in what was a titanic struggle. Alex played solidly but could not quite get the better of the Hertfordshire Captain and lost by a single hole. Alex Nicholls was in cruise control during his game, establishing a 4 hole lead with only 4 to play. His opponent Jordan Bass, however, staged a spirited fight back by taking the match to the Par 3 18th hole. Alex rolled in a 20 foo
t birdie putt to finally sink Bass. With 6½ points already in the bag and with 5 matches still to be concluded a victory for BB&O looked a certainty, but the Hertfordshire tail was beginning to wag. Louie Moore, Patrick Bart, Zac Cooper and Elliot Wills fought well but failed to take their opponents to the last hole.
Team at Moor Park: Patrick Bart (Burnham Beeches), Alex Buckner (East Berkshire), Zac Cooper (Beaconsfield), Michael East (Burnham Beeches), George Gardner (Castle Royle), John Gough (Stoke Park), Chris Little (Frilford Heath), Louie Moore (Beaconsfield), Alex Nicholls (Goring & Streatley), Elliot Wills (Stoke Park).
Park was the venue for the annual Boys U18 encounter between BB&O and Surrey. This match was played over 36 holes with five Foursomes matches in the morning and ten Singles matches in the afternoon.
The morning Foursomes were dominated by BB&O who ran out winners in four of the rubbers. Chris Little and fourteen year old Nick Elmey played in game 1 and ran out 2&1 victors. Alex Nicholls and Michael East, in game 2, played some scintillating golf which nearly included a hole-in-one by Alex at the 8th hole; his ball finishing inches from the hole. The subsequent birdie was their third of the holes played and moved them to six up. Tommy Bentley and Harvey Byers staged something of a comeback but eventually lost by 4&2. Louie Moore and Marcus Pugh, making his first outing for the Elite team, saw off their opponents by a margin of 2&1. Zac Cooper and Damien Hewitt, another Elite team first timer, played well to overcome the Kressinger-Dunn brothers as they are members of Betchworth Park. Patrick Bart and Alex Buckner, having arrived late after taking a wrong turn on the M25, could not get their bearings right on the course and lost 3&2. A 4-1 lead at lunchtime was promising though with ten points on offer in the afternoon Singles nothing could be taken for granted.
Chris Little and Alex Buckner, in the first two rubbers in the afternoon had tight games and were all square deep into their games but Surrey finished the stronger and ran out winners in both. Louie Moore, at No 3 played his usual steady golf and edged out his opponent by a single hole. Alex Nicholls started well enough but fell behind on the back 9 to Harvey Byers, who was 3rd in the recent Douglas Johns Trophy. Alex staged a late comeback before losing on the last. Patrick Bart, playing in his last season for the Elite squad, benefitted from a lesson the day before to play some really nice golf. His 3&2 victory was richly deserved. Marcus Pugh struggled off the tee in his game and was always behind in his 4&2 defeat. Nick Elmey, playing with a degree of self belief that belies his age, comfortably won his game, 4&2, against Surrey’s youngest player. Damien Hewitt played well against his left handed, smaller opponent but succumbed at the 17th hole. Zac Cooper, recently selected for the BB&O SEG Junior Foursomes Team, established a commanding lead half way through the back nine. Three up with four holes to play should have been comfortable but Zac ran up three bogeys in a row to offer his opponent and Surrey a lifeline. Fortunately Zac held his nerve on the 18th and got up and down from a greenside bunker to avoid the ignominy of defeat from a winning position.
Team at Betchworth Park: Patrick Bart (Burnham Beeches), Alex Buckner (East Berkshire), Zac Cooper (Stoke Park), Michael East (Burnham Beeches), Nick Elmey (Frilford Heath), Damien Hewitt (Castel Royle), Chris Little (Frilford Heath), Louie Moore (Beaconsfield), Alex Nicholls (Goring & Streatley), Marcus Pugh (Burnham Beeches).
The U16s secured wins over both Bedfordshire and Middlesex in the League match at Ealing on 29th July. The morning Foursomes result against Bedfordshire was 4-0 and the afternoon Singles 7-1. Against Middlesex the Foursomes result was 3-1 with the afternoon Singles much tighter before drawing 4-4.
Team at Ealing: Harry Bowness (Newbury & Crookham), Ross Hampshire (The Oxfordshire), Ollie Huggins (Frilford Heath), Ben Humphries (Stoke Park), Sebastian Jones (Sonning), Callum Kirby (Harleyford), Stanley Lewis (Chartridge Park), Aaron Siddell (Sonning).
Another impressive win was achieved against both Hertfordshire & Middlesex at Stocks on 15th August. We won the morning Foursomes against Middlesex 4-0 and the afternoon Singles 7½-½. Against Hertfordshire the morning score was 2½-1½ and in the afternoon 5-3. Our victories over Middlesex and Hertfordshire meant we tied for the League with Hertfordshire with 10 points each, that then went down to the wire on a count back of total games won. Hertfordshire had 48 for the season, BB& O had 51 and were announced as the League Winners for the 3rd year in a row.
The team at Stocks: Harry Bowness (Newbury & Crookham), Kristian Donaldson (Buckinghamshire), Nick Elmey (Frilford Heath), Ollie Huggins (Frilford Heath), Sebastian Jones (Sonning), Stanley Lewis (Chartridge Park), Aaron Siddell (Sonning), Steven Stanhope (Frilford Heath).
We hosted the annual match against Surrey at Huntercombe on 26th August. This is sponsored by the MUGS (Mortimer Ubiquitous Golfing Society) and they were out in force to watch a great game. Surrey went in to lunch with a slender lead and we were hoping for a tight match in the afternoon. Sadly, that was not the case as we struggled to get any points from the first 7 games. It was all over by the time Kristian Donaldson and Aaron Siddell added some points as we went down 4½-10½.
Team at Huntercombe: Harry Bowness (Newbury & Crookham), Kristian Donaldson (Buckinghamshire), Nick Elmey (Frilford Heath), Ross Hampshire (The Oxfordshire), Sebastian Jones (Sonning), Callum Kirby (Harleyford), Stanley Lewis (Chartridge Park), Aiden Osobase (Stoke Park), Aaron Siddell (Sonning), Steven Stanhope (Frilford Heath).
The Under 14s team had a mixed result in their League match against Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire at Three Locks on 28th July. Although we comfortably beat Bedfordshire 10½-4½ we were heavily beaten by Hertfordshire by the same margin 4½-10½. The triangular match consisted of 9 holes of Foursomes followed by 18 holes of Singles.
Team at Three Locks: Matthew Admans (Stoke Park), Harrison Arnold (East Berkshire), James Butler (Beaconsfield), Sebastian Donaldson (Buckinghamshire), James Duffy (Castle Royle), James Gregory (Stoke Park), Joshua Kearns (Tadmarton Heath), Thomas Lawton (East Berkshire), Gregor McKenzie (Kirtlington), James Woakes (Gerrards Cross).
The team played some very solid golf at Whipsnade Park on 21st August to defeat both Hertfordshire and Middlesex. However, despite the dual victories and with a match against Bedfordshire and Middlesex to come, Hertfordshire will win the League for 2014 on game points won. Our team included three U13s and U12 Champion Conor Gough. The morning resulted in us leading Hertfordshire 3½-1½; and Middlesex by the same score. we needed a minimum of 5 points from the Singles matches for a dual victory. The conditions switched from warm to chilly and from still to breezy. Harrison Arnold (Captain for the day), lost both games to very good players while Conor repeated his morning result with a win against Hertfordshire but a loss against Middlesex. Sebastian won both his games by large margins followed by Gregor McKenzie who birdied the 18th to win both 1up. Josh Kearns won both of his matches 4&3. Ryan Walker, well down in both after nine, came back to lose 3&2 to Hertfordshire but birdied the par 5 18th to beat Middlesex 1up. Victory on the day against both was secured by James Evans who beat Hertfordshire 2&1 and Middlesex 4&3. The match result was 8½-6½ against Hertfordshire and 10½-4½ against Middlesex. Every boy contributed points on the day but praise is due to Gregor McKenzie, James Evans and Joshua Kearns who scored maximum points.
Team at Whipsnade Park: Matthew Admans (Stoke Park), Harrison Arnold (East Berkshire), James Butler (Beaconsfield), Sebastian Donaldson (Buckinghamshire), James Evans (Frilford Heath), Conor Gough (Stoke Park), Joshua Kearns (Tadmarton Heath), Thomas Lawton (East Berkshire), Gregor McKenzie (Kirtlington), Ryan Walker (Bearwood Lakes).
Our final match was against Middlesex and Bedfordshire on 27th August and we had a winning day at Grims Dyke as Middlesex hosted the last triangular League match of the season. With the League already won by Hertfordshire, the BB&O boys were keen to finish level on match points with the League leaders even though Hertfordshire’s tally of game points was unassailable. Despite the inevitable travel chaos getting to the venue during rush hour on a working day, only Bedfordshire began the day with a team member short while we had to juggle our Foursomes playing order to accommodate latecomers. Grims Dyke is a short course (5,647 yards on the day) which begins with a tough par three which most boys struggled to play to par. The nine hole morning Foursomes went pretty well with a wins for us against Bedfordshire and Middlesex by the same 3½-1½ score. Maximum points were won by the pairings of Gregor McKenzie and James Evans and Tom Lawton and Matthew Admans. Every boy contributed to the score in the morning session. With Bedfordshire a player short, the afternoon began with U12 Champion Conor Gough playing a two ball with Ritik Patel (Middlesex) in a fine match that ended all square. James Duffy and Gregor McKenzie then added to the points tally – Gregor (having beaten Middlesex) losing a particularly close match with JR Ellis from 2 down. We are becoming used to Sebastian Donaldson winning in style and his two wins by 6&5 were no exception. Tom Lawton won against Middlesex by a huge margin but lost on the 18th to Bedfordshire. James Evans repeated last week’s performance with two fine Singles wins, a feat equalled by James Woakes and Max Teixeira. With the afternoon session going to BB&O 6½-3½ against Middlesex and 5½-3½ against Bedfordshire, BB&O won the day 10-5 and 9-6 respectively.
Team at Grims Dyke: Matthew Admans (Stoke Park), Sebastian Donaldson (Buckinghamshire), James Evans (Frilford Heath), Conor Gough (Stoke Park), Thomas Lawton (East Berkshire), Gregor McKenzie (Kirtlington), Max Teixeria (Mapledurham), Jamie Tomlinson (Woburn), James Woakes (Gerrards Cross).
The 3rd event of the year at Sunningdale Ladies on 4th May saw wins for James Duffy (Castle Royle) and John Gough (Stoke Park) in the Under 14s and Under 12s respectively.
The 4th event of the year at Hadden Hill on 30th May resulted in wins for Bradley Tuckett (East Berkshire) and Struan Hancock (Bearwood Lakes) in the Under 14s and Under 12s respectively.
The 5th event of the year at Badgemore Park on 1st June resulted in another win for James Duffy (Castle Royle) and Taylor Paul (Stoke Park) in the Under 14s and Under 12s respectively.
A short break and then the 6th event of the year was at Drayton Park on 22nd June. A Family Double with wins for Kristian and Sebastian Tannum-Donaldson both from Buckinghamshire GC in the Under 14s and Under 12s respectively.
Goring & Streatley
The 7th event of the year at Goring & Streatley had to be abandoned with just a few holes to go due to dangerous weather conditions. The main contenders for the Scratch prizes had all finished and it was decided to declare a result for that part, with the Handicap prizes being awarded over 9 holes. Bradley Tuckett from East Berkshire won the Under 14s with Sebastian Tannum-Donaldson adding another win in the Under 12s.
Kristian Tannum-Donaldson (Buckinghamshire) won his 3rd Nike Futures Tour Under 14 title at The Berkshire on 3rd August with Bradley Tuckett in second place. The Order of Merit is hotting up after the 8th event. In the Under 12s Conor Gough (Stoke Park) closed out his 3rd win in just 4 events by 2 shots from Sebastian Tannum-Donaldson (Buckinghamshire). Conor is probably too far back to retain his Order of Merit title as he hasn't played that many events as he has travelled the Country playing in National competitions.
Kristian Tannum-Donaldson (Buckinghamshire) won his 4th Nike Futures Tour Under 14s title at Hazlemere on 13th August with an excellent score of 71. William Kent (The Oxfordshire) finished in second place after a 75. In the Under 12s, Thomas Gregory (Stoke Park) claimed his 2nd win of the Nike Futures Tour and now leads the Order of Merit.
Once again the weather got the better of us and with the threat of electrical thunderstorms in the area, we abandoned play after 9 holes. Nevertheless we were able to declare a result and it was Harrison Arnold (East Berkshire) who took the honours in the Under 14s with a score of 37. Tied second were Kristian Tannum-Donaldson (Buckinghamshire) and Gregor McKenzie (Kirtlington) with 38.
In the Order of Merit, Kristian is just under 3 points ahead of Harrison with Bradley Tuckett (East Berkshire) a further few points back. Any one of these can win the Title at Frilford Heath in October.
In the Under 12s Sebastian Tannum-Donaldson (Buckinghamshire) tied with Archie Smith (Caversham Heath) with 38 but took the Trophy on countback. Taylor Paul and Thomas Gregory both from Stoke Park finished just a shot further back.
In the Order of Merit, Thomas leads Sebastian by 3¼ points and these two are realistically the only contenders for first place.
A 6-4 win in our first League match at Gerrards Cross against Hertfordshire on 28th April was a good start to the season. This was a great result as Hertfordshire are, traditionally our toughest opponents in this League. Can we capitalise on this?
The team at Gerrards Cross: Ashley Brewer (Denham), Rod Crisp (Ellesborough), Adrian Donkersley (Gerrards Cross), Bob Lander (The Lambourne), David Niven (Newbury & Crookham), Chris Osborne (Temple), Cliff Pearce (Ellesborough), Gilbert Runnicles (Gerrards Cross), Phil Sewell (Castle Royle), George Wilson (Calcot Park).
We had a comfortable win against Essex 7½-2½ at The Berkshire on 28th July. Well done to everyone and thanks to The Berkshire for hosting us once again. Looking good now after 2 Home wins.
The team at The Berkshire: Ashley Brewer (Denham), Rod Crisp (Ellesborough), Adrian Donkersley (Gerrards Cross), Steve Fenton (Burnham Beeches), Bob Lander (The Lambourne), David Niven (Newbury & Crookham), Chris Osborne (Temple), Cliff Pearce (Ellesborough), Malcolm Reid (Sonning), Gilbert Runnicles (Gerrards Cross), George Wilson (Calcot Park).
A good result at John O'Gaunt on 15th August gave us a good chance of winning the League if we get a draw or better against Middlesex in a few weeks’ time. We got off to a great start winning the first 4 games and even with a bit of a stutter we still came home 8-2 ahead as our strength in depth paid dividends.
The team at John O’Gaunt: Ashley Brewer (Denham), Adrian Donkersley (Gerrards Cross), Stephen Fenton (Burnham Beeches), Gilbert Runnicles (Gerrards Cross), Phil Sewell (Castle Royle), Bob Lander (The Lambourne) David Niven (Newbury & Crookham), Malcolm Reid (Sonning) and George Wilson (Calcot Park).
An excellent field of 49 players gathered at Temple on 5th May for the second running of the Spring Trophy. With some high quality players taking part it was no surprise the scoring was good and it was Jack Haines (Gerrards Cross) who came through by 2 shots from Chris Osborne from the Home Club, taking second on countback from Alex Wills (Harewood Downs) and defending Champion Michael Verity (Burnham Beeches).
GeorgeWilson proved the best able to handle the awful weather at Ellesborough on 7th & 8th May. With very gusty conditions on Wednesday the players found it difficult to score on quick greens and 3 putts were commonplace. The greens were slower on Thursday - only because it was so wet! Nonetheless, the players battled away and in the end George Wilson (Calcot Park) and County Captain won the Seniors Championship at his first attempt. Home players Cliff Pearce and Rod Crisp took second and third spots and Gilbert Runnicles (Gerrards Cross) in 4th place. Oddly enough, these 4 also won their age groups which, on checking the records, is unique in this Championship.
Mid Age Championship
Ashley Walton (Frilford Heath) won the Mid Age Championship at The Oxfordshire on 26th May in a close run contest. His morning round of 69 included 8 birdies but only left him 1 shot clear of Will Kendall (Denham) and 2 clear of Kevin Freeman (Stoke Park). As the rain set in for the afternoon, scoring was more difficult and only George Wilson (Calcot Park) was able to beat par. His 71 left him on level par for the day which was later matched by Kevin Freeman but it was Ashley Walton who came through in the end as he compiled a very respectable 73 to finish 2 clear on 2 under par for the day, excellent scoring on this Championship Course.
Dan Caton (Burnham Beeches) won the Colts' Championship after a 3 hole play-off against Jordan Garnish (The Oxfordshire) at Huntercombe on 27th May. Both players tied on 144 which was a good score in very damp conditions. It took 3 holes to separate the two and it was Caton who took the Honours by holing a great 20 foot putt on the difficult 5th hole for a birdie 3. In the Handicap section Guilheim Loisel McFadden (Castle Royle) deservedly took the Busy Bowl after he was the only player on the day to better his handicap.
Club Scratch and Handicap Foursomes
The East Berkshire pair of Tom Potter and Steve Jones took both the Scratch & Handicap Salvers hosted by Buckingham in their Centenary year on 27th June. They had a 5 shot advantage over Luke Richardson and Phil Cuthbert (Ellesborough) in the Scratch Championship and a 3 shot cushion over Wayne Griffiths and Raza Rubbani (Sand Martins) in the Handicap Championship.
Champion Club & Courage Trophy
Castle Royle won their 4th Champion Club title in 5 years at Woburn on the 5th July. Played over the Dukes course many players found the going pretty tough but, in the end, the team of George Gardner, Tim Shin and David Langley came out on top. Tim also took the Courage Trophy with an excellent score of 5 under par.
Unfortunately Castle Royle is unable to represent BB&O in the England Golf Champion Club event later in the year and will be replaced by the Runners Up, Stoke Park. We wish them well in the Final at Trentham at end of September as they attempt to become England Champion Club.
The Under 12s Championship
Conor Gough added the Under 12s Championship to his BB&O wins by beating Thomas Gregory on countback at Beaconsfield on 24th July. Both Stoke Park players finish 1 ahead of Struan Hancock (Bearwood Lakes) and Sebastian Tannum-Donaldson (Buckingham). Nichols Stols (Mentmore) took the handicap prize, again on countback, after 4 players finished with net 71s.
The Under 14s Championship
At just 11 years of age Conor Gough (Stoke Park) became the first 'youngster' to win the Under 14s which was played at Castle Royle on 29th July. He finished just 1 shot ahead of Nick Elmey (Frilford Heath) and Harry West (Calcot Park). In the Handicap prize section Harry West (Calcot Park) took the honours after an excellent round of net 68 with James Gregory (Stoke Park) and James Butler (Beaconsfield) in 2nd and 3rd with scores of 70 and 71 respectively.
Douglas Johns Trophy
An amazing finish at Harewood Downs resulted in a win for Alex Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire) after he had a hole in one at the 8th (his 35th hole). At first he thought his 3 iron shot had gone long but was soon to discover, that the reason he couldn't see it, was it had gone in! This now took him to within 1 shot of Jack Ainscough (Castle Eden) who had witnessed the shot from the 9th tee. The pressure of seeing his 3 shot lead all but vanish resulted in a double bogey at the last despite having played beautifully all day. He still had 2 fine scores of 69 and 68 but they would not be good enough to oust last year's Runner-Up from the winner’s enclosure. Alex just missed his birdie putt on the 9th but his tap in enabled him to sign off with a 66 and take the Trophy by 1 shot.
On a blustery but dry day the Buckinghamshire offered a true test for the 2014 BB&O Junior Championship. Michael East, defending the title he won last year, was paired with George Gardner, whose recent form has been scintillating. Third in both the South Eastern Group Junior Championship and the Carris Trophy, both at Moor Park, and full County recognition are only a few of George’s achievements this season.
Chris Little has not been at his very best this season, largely due to a rigorous ‘A’ Level exam schedule, but showed some return to form with a 66 at the East Berkshire Junior Stag last week and again produced two fine rounds at Buckinghamshire of 72 and 73, to finish in sole possession of 3rd place. He would have been disappointed, however, to drop some shots in his last three holes.
Kristian Tannum-Donaldson, a member of Buckinghamshire and third in the current BB&O U14 Order Of Merit, produced a fine afternoon round of 69 to finish 2nd on level par. This was a fitting way to celebrate his 15th birthday just one day before the Championship. He also claimed both the Under 16 Trophy and the Handicap Trophy by wide margins. Kristian was one of many younger boys to make their mark with Aaron Siddell, Ollie Huggins, Nick Elmey, Peter Handcock and Ross Hampshire all finishing within the top 10. A special mention for Peter who scored his first hole-in-one on the 9th hole.
The headlines, however, are reserved for George who, despite trailing Damien Hewitt (71), after the morning round, produced a flawless display in the afternoon to shoot a 5 under par 67 to take the title by 5 shots. A round that contained one eagle, four birdies and a solitary dropped shot, was constructed with planning, execution and efficiency.
David Langley (Castle Royle) produced 4 exceptional rounds of golf over the Rothschild Course at Mentmore to become the Amateur Champion. Par is 72 and he finished a record 18 under for the Championship with rounds of 70, 67, 68 and, finally, a course record 65 including 9 birdies. The spectators certainly thought we were in for a close finish with the field tightly packed after 3 rounds but nobody challenged Langley over the tough front 9 before he tore the back nine apart in 6 under par. John Kemp (Woburn) finished 8 shots back with a score that in most Championships would have won easily. David Langley now goes on to see if he can be crowned England County Champion at Woodhall Spa later in the year.
Darren Gatward (Calcot Park) won the Penfold Trophy at Mentmore on 13th June. Due to the poor number of entries for the Amateur Championship there was no qualifying tournament this year. The Trophy was awarded to the leading non exempt 36 hole score on day 1 of the Championship and Darren was a clear winner by 5 shots after finishing a very creditable level par for 2 rounds.
Boys County Qualifying
This was played at The Copthorne Golf Club on 28th May. Our Team of 6 players were: Alex Buckner (Bearwood Lakes), Michael East (Burnham Beeches), George Gardner (Castle Royle), John Gough (Stoke Park), Louie Moore (Beaconsfield) and Alex Nicholls (Goring & Streatley). Team scores are decided by the best 5 from 6 morning and afternoon.
With a very strong side we did feel that this was ‘our year’ We practiced well and were very confident and despite a reasonable effort in the morning were just 3 shots off the lead. We hoped that we could find a ‘great score’ from one of the Team but could only find more of the same. Very consistent, good golf, but not enough to win a an event like this. Next year?
Seniors County Qualifying
This was played at The Bedfordshire on 17th & 18th June. The format is 5 scores from 6 to count and our team was Adrian Donkersley (Gerrards Cross), Bob Lander (The Lambourne), Cliff Pearce (Ellesborough), Gilbert Runnicles (Gerrards Cross), Phil Sewell (Castle Royle) and George Wilson (Calcot Park). We should have challenged here but had a poor morning and were 14 shots off the pace. This would be too big a margin to draw back in the afternoon and despite a somewhat better performance in the afternoon we finished a distant fourth with Kent winning for the umpteenth time since the inception of the competition. One day - surely!
This was played at Hankley Common on Saturday 12th July. In this one, all 6 scores count and our team was James Foster (Newbury & Crookham), Kevin Freeman (Stoke Park), Jean-Michel Hall (Woburn), John Kemp (Woburn), David Langley (Castle Royle) and Andrew Lynch (Stoke Park).
Another 6 Man Team event and yet another chance to reach an England Final. Again, a very strong team on paper and after a good morning we held a 9 shot lead. A great round of 65 from Kevin Freeman being the highlight.
Sadly, the wheels fell off in the afternoon and only Andrew Lynch produced any kind of score to be proud of. We were 16 shots worse than the morning and didn’t even have the consolation of finishing Runners-Up. Hampshire took 2nd place to Surrey winning the title by 6 shots having started the afternoon 9 behind us. A very poor effort overall given our combined plus handicaps and our over par performance.
Seniors Foursomes Preliminary
This was played at Ifield on 10th July and our team was Ashley Brewer (Denham), Rod Crisp (Ellesborough), Adrian Donkersley (Gerrards Cross), Steve Fenton (Burnham Beeches), Bob Lander (The Lambourne), David Niven (Newbury & Crookham), Cliff Pearce (Ellesborough), Malcolm Reid (Sonning), Phil Sewell (Castle Royle) and George Wilson (Calcot Park). This event pits us against Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex on an annual basis, fighting it out to play the 3 other Group winners later in the year. We have a strong record in this match play event and we won comfortably against Hampshire in the morning. Somewhat surprisingly, Sussex overcame the Surrey team in the morning and we faced them in the afternoon final. Again, a very solid performance from all the players made the result never in doubt and we now go on to play the other finalists at Broadway in late September.
Played at Felixstowe Ferry 20th and 21st August. Our Team of 8 was: Zac Cooper (Beaconsfield), Michael East (Burnham Beeches), George Gardner (Castle Royle), John Gough (Stoke Park), Chris Little (Frilford Heath), Louie Moore (Beaconsfield), Alex Nicholls (Goring & Streatley), Aaron Siddell (Sonning). The format is to play the other 8 Counties in a round robin format with 3 pairings morning and afternoon. You can rotate all the players.
We played Sussex and Bedfordshire in the morning on Day 1 and won both matches quite comfortably. The afternoon was much tougher as we met Kent and the hosts Suffolk. A couple of changes to our pairings were made but they didn’t have the desired effect and we only managed to halve both matches. Nonetheless we were still in a strong position to win the overall if we played well on Day 2. In the morning we played Essex and Middlesex and were well ahead in all the games after the front nine. We HAD to beat Essex to have any chance of the overall win and with 6 holes to go it looked fine. We then finished really badly and we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The win against Middlesex was no consolation as we now could not win the Championship. The afternoon matches were anticlimactic and we eventually finished in 4th spot.
Unfortunately the South East Group Committee have decided to change the format of this Competition to a 36 hole Foursomes Scratch Medal. We do not feel this has any merit or any purpose other than to keep an unpopular, expensive, Championship going. We see no point in spending a four figure sum in pursuing a Championship, the format of which, is contrived and not played at any other level. We have given notice of our intention to withdraw from this in the future. Given the amount of events our top Junior golfers are supposed to play in during the Summer holidays to gain England recognition, it seems pointless burdening them with a meaningless event.