After battling through several rounds of qualifying and beating off thousands of other competitors, two Goodwood golfers have booked their place in the grand final of the UK’s biggest amateur golf event, the Matchplay Championship.
Andy Brown and Paul Oliver are to be flown to Dubai for the trip of a lifetime after scoring 40 points to claim victory in the tournament’s south regional qualifier at the European Tour venue of the Marriott Forest of Arden near Birmingham.
They follow in the footsteps of Thomas Bjorn, Robert Allenby, ex-Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and Open champion Darren Clarke as winners at the impressive championship venue.
Playing their third match in four days, Cowdray Park seniors hosted a strong team from the links course at Hayling Island.
New match manager Brian Brockhurst and partner Dave Darby had a close tussle with their experienced opponents with the decision going right to the last hole, where Hayling’s captain Mike Hughes-Narborough won the point for his side. The turning point for the home side came with an astonishing 7&6 win by John Smith and former seniors’ captain Wally Mitchell.
Cowdray took the lead after the next match with a 4&2 win by Dave Tilley and Keith Barker. The final three matches resulted in a win and a half for each side to give Cowdray their second narrow win in two days, this time by 4½-3½.
Prizes were supplied for nearest the pin shots on the third and ninth. Both were won by home players, John Smith and Tony Pike.
Results (Cowdray names first): Brian Brockhurst & Dave Darby lost to Mike Hughes-Narborough & Brian le Marquer 1dn; John Doran & Peter Burton beat Andy Jackson & Doug Johnson 1up; Allen Sibley & Dave Gaff lost to Ian Andrews & Terry Trise 1dn; John Smith & Wally Mitchell beat Barry Jones & Noel Edwards 7&6; Dave Tilley & Keith Barker beat Rod Francis & Roger Blandon 4&2; Keith Chapman & David Laver halved with Richard Gaskin & Brian Osbourne; Clive Strudwick & Terry Moran lost to Edgar Houlson & Roger Standen 3&1; Tony Pike & Rodney Fisher beat Roger Thompson & Tony Child 1up.
Cowdray Park seniors made the long journey to Betchworth Park, a picturesque course among the rolling downs near Box Hill in Surrey.
The first contest, featuring match manager Mike Pratt and partner Brian Brockhurst, resulted in a close-fought victory by one up, closely followed by a 4&3 win from Rodney Fisher and Barry Overington. The home team won the next two matches.
The strong Cowdray pair of Chris Hoare and Graham Evans restored the visitors’ advantage with another 4&3 win. Betchworth won the next two matches but Cowdray’s Philip Singer and Mike Hughes recorded the biggest win, 5&4, to clinch the 4½-3½ win for the visitors.
Results: Mike Pratt & Brian Brockhurst beat Chris Jones & Paul Holt 1 up; Rodney Fisher & Barry Overington beat Alan May & Brian Cole 4&3; John Start & John Newman halved with Eric Reeve & Bob Taylor; Dave Lucking & Roy Penrose lost to Ray Bolton & John Marrington 2&1; Chris Hoare & Graham Evans beat Tony Mitchell & Colin Tyler 4&3; John Doran & Mike Cardiff lost to Rod Stafford & Terry Gould 2&1; Alan Godfree & Peter Burton lost to David Croll & Chris Burley 2&1; Philip Singer & Mike Hughes beat John Chapman & Peter Johnson 5&4.
The April Medal at Cowdray attracted a field of 104.
Results: Div 1: Mark Jasper nett 66 (overall winner), Mick Fillary 67; Div 2: Mick Whitcomb 70, Chris Bowles 70; Div 3: Dave Coombes 70, Andy Marriner 70.
In the Owen Cup, the final will be between Paul Owen and Steve Judd and Trevor and Tom Challen.
Cowdray ladies’ April medal was played on a cold and breezy day. Mandy Lucking and Sally Williams won division one and two respectively with brilliant scores of net 73.
Results: Div 1 - Mandy Lucking 73, Jill Parry 78, Sue Brown 78; Div 2 - Sally Williams 73, Georgie Miller 77, Myrna Heustice 78; Div 3 - Pauline Lamb 76, Mary Morling 77, Maureen Bailey 77.
Bognor’s first men’s ‘major’ of the year, was a medal competition with an excellent 123 entries. The newly-refurbished fifth hole was in play for the first time and the green staff had done superbly to completely rebuild the green and its bunkers.
The event was won by Gee Fenwick with a nett 65, followed by Ian Pettie with 66. Third was John Sixsmith on countback. Club captain Alistair Murray came seventh with 69. Lowest gross score on the day was James Ashman’s 72.
There are some tough medals coming up, notably the 36-hole Spring Tankard, followed by the Glover Cup. There is also a new competition, The Hollymead Cup, sponsored by Hollymead Residential Home.
Bognor vets played two club matches with mixed results. The first was at home to Royal Winchester. It was closely-fought and went down to the wire with the last putt of the day clinching a 4½-3½ win for Bognor.
Bognor’s team comprised Alan Fitzgerald, Trevor Till, Mike Henry, Russell Braham, Tony Wells, Frank Hodder, Peter Collins, Barry Vanstone, Barry Bayliss, John Owen, Clive Millett, Peter Lott, John King, Gerry O’Neill and Vic Ward.
Away to Southwick Park, the players escaped the wet weather. The hosts’ local knowledge came to the fore in a 5-3 win.
Results: Jim Catt (captain) & Trevor Till lost 1 down, David Turner & Joe Cookson won 2 up, John Owen & Mike Wilson won 5&4, Andy Bence & Peter McCormack won 1 up, Ken Catt & Dennis Burke lost 4&3, Frank Hodder & David Hollis lost 4&3, Mike Oates & Alan Rumsby lost 2 down, Tony Wells & Vic Ward lost 4&3.
Heather Tidy and Suzanne Taylor represented Bognor in the county ladies scratch foursomes at Pyecombe GC. In the first round they beat Highwoods 3&2, in the second Ham Manor 5&4 and in the quarter-finals Copthorne 6&5.
In the semi-finals they succumbed at the 20th hole to Royal Ashdown Forest, who went on to win.
Sixty-four Bognor ladies entered the EWGA Trust Stableford.
Results: Silver - Lynn Miller 36pts, Angela Chandler 35, Nicki Vincent 33 ocb, Penny Entecott 33. Bronze A - Edwina Beresford 31 ocb, Margaret Martin 31, Margaret Delves 30, Georgina McCormack 29. Bronze B - Dianna Crook 35, Sally Cameron 34, Hilary Reilly 31. Vets - Davina Rumsby 28 ocb, Mary Hardy 28, June Smith 27.
Selsey veterans entertained their counterparts from Chichester for their second club match of the season. Chichester stole the show 4-2.
Results: (Selsey names first): D Sanderson & B Rainer lost to R Stainsby & M Chapman 5&4 (pictured); R DeBuse & D Terry lost to R Baldwin & D Blythe 2&1, P Boughton & J Napper beat J Paul & R Parker 2up, G Mariner & D White beat R Prince & A Grant 2&1, B Moore & G Wood lost to R Prosser & C Campling 3&2; R Browell & T Chapman lost to C Goldsmid & M White 3&2.
A Texas scramble was won by George Stillwell, Danny Carter and Stephen Porter with a nett 58.3. Runners-up were Rob Kuszka, Adam Kracke and Mark Heron with 62.4, kicking off a busy Easter.
A Saturday Stableford was won by Mark Walker with 43 points.
And a Sunday pairs competition saw Ryan Blackwood and Alan Markwick win with 49 points. Runners-up were Paul Raikes and George Stillwell with 47.
On Monday the David Feist plate was played between Avisford Park and the club’s seniors, with Avisford Park winning 9-2.
Nearest the pin prizes were won by Yvette Charman, Jayne Hardwell. Roy Coulson and David Feist.