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Knight conquers all!

In a dramatic end to the 2019 Spring/Summer season young Samuel Knight became the Clubs second recipient of the “Golfer of the Year” award. The accolade is just reward for an outstanding campaign which saw his handicap reduce by half! Samuel was delighted to finish top of the Order of Merit but was quick to give praise to his main rivals who pushed him all the way. Neil Hummerstone occupied the runners-up spot after having a very consistent season himself. Mark Dowling wasn’t too far back after claiming two major honours along the way. The ever present James O’Sullivan played valiantly but just fell short of a big win. Mark Forster came with a late charge but was too far back to close the gap. The final Summer order of Merit table is printed below.

Order of Merit 2019 Final Points Standings

Golfer of the Year!

Sam Knight 200

Neil Hummerstone 183

Mark Dowling 164

James O’Sullivan 158

Mark Forster 121

Graham Jackson 97

Peter Philips 89

John Procter 84

John Dixon 78

Alan Smith 76

Jonathan Knight 70

Gerry Smith 68

Dino Grazioli 67

Juan Andres Vidal 62

Steve Monks 62

Malcolm Rosborough 61

Robert Rawlinson 61

Karl Brown 59

Dave White 58

Michael O’Conner 56

Keith Squirrell 54

Kevin Tomkins 51

Alan Best 46

Barry Watkinson 44

Adam Hicks 41

Ian Clibbon 30

Brian Purton 28

Chris Morris 24

Michael Saterlay 20

Michael Andrews 20

Keith Flight 20

Peter Riddle 20

Alan Webb 17

Paul Gregory 15

Julian Arikans 13

Ken Chapman 13

John Hawkins 12

Alan Creek 11

Shane Waller 8

Brian Stenson 6

Andrew Wincott 6

Bill Griffiths 5

Lee Lines 4

Roger Woods 3

Don Brown 2

Bill Benton 2

Richard Krakowski 2

Matt Squires 1

September began with Michael Saterlay rolling back the years to win the Midweek Medal by four shots from Alan Creek. Adam hicks produced a sub-par round of his own to win the Monthly Medal by three from Dave White. The season long Stableford Cup turned into a two horse race between Samuel Knight and James O’Sullivan. Going into the final round James held a slender one point lead. The drought like conditions meant the course was playing hard and fast, scoring would be tricky but not impossible. James opened the door for Samuel after returning a score that was good enough for fourth place on the day, but didn’t improve on his overall total. Unaware of his opportunity Samuel played on and carded his best stableford score of the year. His final total of forty points was more than good enough to win the final round and capture yet another title with the overall victory. Neil Hummerstone finished third and John Procter fourth in the final standings. The Midweek Stableford ended with revenge for Alan Creek who this time turned the table on Michael Saterlay.

With so much still at stake in the quest for final Order of Merit points, it was little surprise to see such a large entry for the final major event of the season. It is the tradition at the Club for members to gather at the end of September to play in the Cyril Pooley Memorial Tournament to honour the memory of one of the Club’s founding members and servant of the Club. The tournament is thirty-six hole Stableford, played on consecutive Saturday’s. In the first round scoring was very good. At the close of play Dino Grazioli topped the leaderboard by three points from Mark Dowling. The players were greeted by a stiff breeze for the second round but after a week of rain, at least the course would be playing softer. The draw had been organised so that the leaders would go out last and this added to the excitement felt by everyone. Club Captain John Dixon was the first to return a credible score. His thirty-five points was soon joined by Jonathan Knight and James O’Sullivan, but with a total score of sixty-three it was only James that posed a threat to the leaders. Sadly for Dino an injured leg put paid to any hope of overall victory but he valiantly gave it his best, despite the pain. In one of the final groups Neil Hummerstone came home with thirty-three points for a possible winning total of sixty-nine. As the final group prepared to play their approach shots to the eighteenth members circled the green to welcome them home. I for one was pleased to have witnessed a shot befitting any champion. In a stiff right to left wind Mark Dowling played a perfectly controlled five iron that drew towards the pin before finishing inside fifteen feet. Under the circumstances it has to go down as one of the shots of the year. The final result couldn’t have been closer with Mark just doing enough to win by a single point overall. Captain John won the second round on count back and moved up to tenth place in the final standings. Neil Hummerstone finished second just ahead of Peter Phillips.

The last competition report to make is the final places in the Summer Eclectic. This eight round competition has become a firm favourite with members, allowing them to enjoy some competitive golf even on social rounds. It is amazing how low the scores can get. If only we could play so well on each hole, during an eighteen hole round! Keith Squirrell played some excellent golf and made a valiant attempt to retain the crown he won last year. In the end though his nett score of 53 was only good enough for third place. Steve Monks came so close again to the overall victory. After setting the early pace he saw his challenge falter and just managed to finish above Keith by virtue of a better back nine. It was thanks to a mixture of spectacular and steady play that Mark Forster recorded an eye popping score of 49, which not surprisingly, separated him from the rest of the field by some distance. The victory was nothing more than for Mark deserved after enjoying an impressive return to form this season.

The 2019 Spring/Summer season has been truly competitive. All the competitions have been extremely well supported and this has made playing in them all the more special. My congratulations go out to all the winners. They have proved to themselves that they have what it takes, and I hope they will have inspired others to try and follow in their footsteps next year. I have thoroughly enjoyed marking all the cards and posting the scores, however high or low they may have been. There are many that never embrace the challenge of competitive golf, that’s their choice. To all those that do I say “well played” you’ll be a better player for it.

The 2019/20 Autumn/Winter fixture list is now available from the clubhouse and all members are welcome to take part.

Good golfing to you all.

Steve Barker

PGA Professional.

Ash Valley Golf Club


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