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Phillips MAYbe the Man to BEAT

The green staff team had worked wonders with the course and it’s recovery from the dreadful winter was the talk of the Club. The warmer friendlier conditions put everyone in high spirits and the competitions attracted good sized fields throughout the month. It would indeed be a wonderful month for Peter Phillips who, by the end of May, thanks to his consistent play, would stand out as the “man to beat”.

The month began with the traditional Rabbit Cup, open to all players with a handicap over twenty. Brian Purton emerged as the winner after a late surge from Steve Monks fell just a couple of points shy. There was better luck for Steve in the Midweek Stableford just a few days later where he won convincingly by nine shots. In the Monthly Stableford Karl Brown carried on his good form to win by a couple of points from “that man” Peter Phillips. Alan Webb didn’t have much trouble winning the Midweek Medal. His closest competitor was Alan Creek a full ten shots behind! However the May Monthly Medal was a much more fiercely contested affair. Although it was no surprise to anyone that, you guessed it, Peter Philips came out on top just piping Peter Riddle by the slimmest of margins.

Towards the end of the month all eyes turned to focus on the 5th Annual Hickory Championship. Thanks to our friend Dave Rose of Hickory Golf Days, who provide the clubs, this unique event allows players to experience the challenge of golf just as it was played a hundred years ago. Played over eighteen holes on the Little Links course it once again attracted a good field. The course looked splendid and definitely provided a tough test for our hickory enthusiasts. In the first group out 2014 champion Alan Smith hit a soaring mashie just short of the green and set off in pursuit of yet another championship with a spring in his step. It’s fair to say that the small group of spectators assembled by the first tee witnessed the good bad and downright ugly as the competitors teed off. Club Captain James O’Sullivan dressed to impress in harlequin plus fours and matching cap sadly couldn’t match his sartorial elegance and finished well down the field. Out on the course there were plenty of groans and moans with the occasional cheer, if you listened hard enough. News started to filter back to the scorer’s table that Alan Smith was playing steadily and making very few mistakes. Arriving at the eighteenth tee he required a three to break seventy gross and set the formidable nett total of sixty. After selecting a niblick he played a majestic lofted shot that finished pin high just off the edge of the green. Under the circumstances it was a wonderful result and two putts later he’d secured, what many thought would be the winning score. Chasing such a score is never easy, you are forced to press and go for shots that often fall short of the mark. Despite a gallant effort from Steve Monks, whose nett sixty-six was the “best of the rest” nobody came close. Last year’s champion Paul Hopkins was gracious in defeat and kindly donated some of the prizes for the closing ceremony. The day had belonged to Alan from start to finish. He became the Clubs first double Hickory Champion and the proud holder of the Newman Trophy for another year.

The Month ended with the popular Summer Scramble. Playing in teams of three members set off in pursuit of glory. This year there was a slight change to the format. On every shot, the player whose ball was selected had to miss a turn. This placed some extra pressure upon the shoulders of the other two members of the team and changed the tactics of the game completely. Scoring was very close and by the end of play the result would need to be decided by count back. The unlucky losers would be the team of John Procter, Dave White and Alan Best. Their score of thirty-nine coming home was just one shot more than that of the winners, Club Captain James O’Sullivan, Mark Forster and Mark Dowling. The new format was well received and looks set to be included in future scramble events.

The leader board for the main club competitions is now up in the clubhouse for all to see. Peter Phillips leads the Order of Merit by ten points from Karl Brown. He also leads the Stableford Cup standings as well as the Handicap Championship table. The leader of the Club Championship is John Dixon and the Eclectic early pace setter is Club Captain James. There’s still much to play for and plenty of the season remaining so get your entries in and keep practicing.

There is also quite a lot going on in June at the Club. Don’t forget that the Monthly Medal on the 9th is a also the qualifier for the singles match play and on the 24th there’s the chance to play in the Captain’s Panama v England Greensomes match with BBQ and the game afterwards on our new 64” TV! Then at the end of the month it’s the Ash Valley Open. So, don’t miss out on all the fun. Entry sheets are posted in the clubhouse for everyone to enter.

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