The Drum Beats at Aldwickbury Park

 

Guess what? The rains came again to try the players and our patience at Aldwickbury Park on the first day, but the green keepers did a fantastic job in getting the course playable for us and off we went, on time.


A strong field had assembled once more to challenge for the win, some had won before and some are yet to win, so each player has his own agenda and in some cases Demons, to deal with.


Early signs were that the course was holding its own against a high quality field and it would be tough to break the heart of this golf course given the wet conditions that were to set prevail for most of the day.


Previous Jamega Tour winner David James set the clubhouse target of 4 under par with a well-crafted score of 67 that we felt could be equalled but hard to beat. Not long after, another James, this time it was the previous winner of this event, Lee James, who also carded an impressive 4 under par 67 to join his namesake in the lead, for now!

Former winner of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Scott Drummond, soon joined the pair on 4 under par but their joint leadership was short lived, however, when a relaxed Joe Braddon strode into the scoring area with a great score of 5 under par to sit on the overnight lead.

The second day was in complete contrast to the first, with a clear blue-sky framing a golden sun the course looked fantastic. A stiff breeze blew up as the morning wore on so it was not going to be an easy day for the leaders and any one of a dozen players could still win today.

The first to show what could be done was the very talented, but highly unpredictable, Ben Martin, who took the early lead adding a 5 under par 66 to his first round 75 to finish on 1 under par.

Young Owen Curry, the amateur son of former European Tour player, Paul Curry scored a brilliant 4 under par 67 to finish on level par and, shush! Beat the old man by one! James Doswell and James Ruebotham joined Martin on 1 under par and led for a while until the penultimate group came in with Scott Drummond carding a score of 68 for 7 under par winning total of 135.

Drummonds playing partner, Nick Flynn, who last played with Jamega as a 17 year old amateur, finished a valiant joint second with David James on 4 under par each winning £1,750. Overnight leader Braddon could not keep his form going and fell away into a joint fourth place finish alongside Lee James on 3 under par.

Drummond secured his first significant win for some time and was pleased to pocket the winner’s cheque for £3,000.

What can you say about Aldwickbury Park? Nothing, other than it’s exceptional, with caring clubhouse staff serving reasonably priced food to golfers who have enjoyed playing on a fabulous golf course cared for by Course Manager Stuart and his staff.

If you haven’t played Aldwickbury Park, near Harpendon, yet, make a point of doing so because you will not be disappointed, the greens are superb.

Next week we are at Essendon for the second in the “Super 7 Series” of events that has an enhanced prize fund an extra £3,500. So enter soon because it will be popular. Details and conditions are on the website.

Streeter on Form at The Shire

Paul Streeter

With the course at The Shire London Club being closed on practice day, due to heavy overnight rain, it did not look very promising for day one of the tournament.

Largely due to the efforts of the green keeping staff, play commenced from the first tee as scheduled at 07:30 and continued without delay throughout the day.

With several former and current European Tour players in the field we expected the scoring to be low given that there was very little wind and the greens were receptive.

This proved not to be the case, however, as only ten players managed to break par and it was former BMW PGA winner Scott Drummond who topped the leader board with a solid round of 5 under par 65.

Drummond's nearest challengers on 3 under par were former European Tour regulars, Paul Streeter and Iain Pyman and Asian Tour players, Yasin Ali, Dan Osbaldeston and Nick Joy. Challenge Tour's Dan Brooks sat menacingly on 2 under par alongside former Jamega Tour winner David James.

The field was so closely bunched that realistically any one of a number of players would have a chance of winning come tomorrow.

A rain free night enabled the course to dry out a little and would give the players a chance to complete 36 holes without any delays.

At the start of the second day we were blessed with bright sunshine for the first tee time at 7:30, then within 10 minutes, only brief glimpses of blue sky could be seen through the thickening cloud.

With many players in the mix, it was to be an interesting day's golf to look forward to. The first bit of excitement was when Michael Moore popped his card on the table with a nice little hole-in one, on the par three 7th, that enabled him to return a level par round of 70 strokes.

It was last week's winner, Martin Sell, who set the early clubhouse lead at 3 under par adding a 67 to his level par first round. However news from the course suggested this would not be good enough.

Dan Brooks was next to show his hand, adding a 3 under par 67 to his first round giving him a realistic chance of at least a play-off at 5 under par.

Paul Streeter, in the penultimate group, was tied with Brooks until he arrowed a shot into the par 3 17th hole to within inches of the cup for a tap-in birdie to move to 6 under with one to play.

Ian Pyman who was playing in the same group as Streeter also made birdie at this demanding par 3, to cling onto his coat tails at 4 under par for the tournament.

Yasin Ali, in the final group, was keeping pace with Streeter until the seventeenth, but unfortunately he bogied it to drop back to 4 under alongside Pyman.

So Streeter, with a one shot cushion over Brooks, who had finished, was in the driving seat and realistically only had to par the last to win.

But the Eighteenth is by no means a pushover par though, with a shallow green set within the iconic "Seve" S shaped water hazard an accurate iron shot would be needed to find the green.

Streeter found the green with a solid approach shot to within 10 feet for a realistic birdie chance but more importantly a stone cold par.

Pyman also found the green and putted first to try to put some sort of pressure onto Streeter but his putt slid agonisingly past the cup and he tapped in for par.

Streeter's putt for birdie also stayed above ground but an easy par gave him the clubhouse lead over Brooks and he looked a certain winner.

When Yasin Ali, who had to hole his second shot to tie, found the water a relieved Streeter knew he was the winner by one from Dan Brooks and pocketed a nice first place cheque for £5,000, whilst Brooks had the consolation of receiving £2,000 for his second place finish.

The Shire London is well worth a visit to play the "Seve" designed layout and walk in the footsteps of the great man and after your round enjoy the high quality food and hospitality on offer.

Our next event is at Aldwickbury Park in Hertfordshire and this is the last counting event for the "Super 7" Bonus Pool the following week at The Essendon Golf & Country Club. All players please note, that on the recommendation of the greenstaff at Essendon we will be playing the new, not old course as advertised, due to better drainage!

So make sure you enter Aldwickbury if you want the opportunity to play for the extra £3500 on offer at Essendon.

Studley Wood is a Sell out For Martin

Martin Sell

Our best friend of 2012, the rain, followed us to Studley Wood and arrived just in time to greet the first group to tee off on day one.

The course looked a picture, with U.S. Open style "Whistling Straits" rough framing the manicured fairways that led the players to the usual perfect putting surfaces.

With the wind sweeping across the course driving the rain horizontally into the player's faces it was never going to be a low scoring day.

Indeed only six players bested the par of 73 and at the head of proceedings was former European Tour player Nick Lawrence who carded a very solid 3 under par 70.

One shot behind on 72 sat Martin Sell, Joe Ferguson and Ben Martin, all of whom worked hard for their scores in the very tough conditions.

The second day was going to be test of endurance for all the players and it was going to be the one who could grind out a score that would win, or would someone find the key to unlock a low score and race through the pack?

With dreadful weather forecasted on the second day, we decided to start earlier in order to complete the tournament, a battle we seem to have at every event during this awful summer.

An early indicator that the scoring would be better for the second round was provided by Ryan Harrison who carded a 5 under par 68 to take the early clubhouse lead on level par.

Not long after, Stuart Runcie raised the bar a notch to 1 under par for the tournament, scoring a seemingly modest 2 under par 71 that actually included two very rare birds in a row.

Runcie was plodding along on 2 over par with 2 holes to play when an Eagle on seventeen was immediately followed by another on the eighteenth! Wow!

The clubhouse lead changed hands fairly rapidly from then on with Myles Pearson and John Chamberlain on 2 under par, then immediately afterwards Joe Smoothy took over with 3 under par.

The battle for the title was now within the last group and it was Swindon's Martin Sell who had the bit between his teeth. After the front nine of 3 under par, he established a 2 shot cushion over Lawrence who could only manage level par for the outward nine holes.

Sell then slipped into "Mr Par" mode for the next 5 holes that allowed Lawrence to reduce the deficit to one with a birdie on the thirteenth.

Sell finally woke up and birdied the fifteenth whilst Lawrence bogied it and Sell now had a more comfortable 3 shot advantage going into the final three holes.

Lawrence got one back on the sixteenth with a birdie 2 but with two par fives to finish there was no way back for Lawrence barring a disaster from Sell.

No dramas ensued and Sell, with his faithful caddy Paul, on the bag, birdied both of them to shoot a fabulous 6 under par 67 for an 8 under par winning score of 138 and a winners cheque for £4,000.

Lawrence fought all the way to the last and his disappointment at finishing second was plain to see but a cheque for £2,000 soon cheered him up!

A big thanks you to Ken and all his staff at Studley Wood for looking after us during 2 difficult days when nothing was too much trouble for them.

A fantastic golf course coupled with un-rivalled hospitality must put Studley Wood on the radar of golfers far and wide as a "must visit" golf course.

The Seve designed Shire will be busy as always, so get your entry in and paid for by Friday to guarantee your place next week.