Lee James takes Caversham by "Storm"

Lee JamesScorching weather and scorching golf was in abundance at Caversham Heath Golf Club on day one of our first tournament back after a two-week break.

With the temperature hitting the low thirties at times and very little wind the scoring was going to be low, even on this testing 7,000-yard golf course.

With the threat of thunder storms in the late afternoon the early starters had the best of the draw and Trevor Jones took full advantage and posted a 5 under par 68 to set the early pace.

Lee James, who is in the form of his life at the moment, soon overtook Jones carding a superb 6 under par 67.

Later on in the day word came back from the course that Chris Cousins was going on a birdie fest reaching the turn in 8 under par and then reaching 9 under after eleven holes it looked like a possible 59 was on the cards for Cousins.

At that point in his round either because of the enormity of what he was doing or the golfing Gods took exception to his making a mockery of the game the wheels on his wagon started to come off and he proceeded to play the remaining 7 holes in 5 over par, eventually finishing on 4 under.

Ben Martin joined Trevor Jones on 5 under par and they tucked just in behind the leader Lee James who was on 6 under par. Liam Crawford shot a creditable 4 under 69 to keep Cousins company on 4 under par. In all some 28 players managed to break par on the first day.

However after sitting at the top on his own for so long Lee James was joined late in the day by Martin Sell who equalled Jamesís 6 under effort.

Day 2 was a lot fresher and very still with, again the threat of thundery conditions later. Sure enough God started to move his furniture about upstairs and at 2pm the thunder and lightening started sending us in to an hour-long delay before we could re-start.

Scott Fallon was the first to show carding an excellent 5 under par 68 to add to his first round 74 to set the pace at 4 under.He was soon joined by Iwan Griffiths who added a solid 69 to his total. Himmat Rai from The Asian Tour, who is playing with us for a while, made it a threesome on 4 under carding a 3 under par 70 to add to his first round score of 72. John Chamberlain shot an excellent second day 68 to fly to the top of the Leaderboard on 7 under par.

Former European Tour player Warren Bennett surged to the top of the Leaderboard and join Chamberlain by shooting a 4 under par 69 to finish with the joint clubhouse lead on 7 under par.

Chris Cousins despite the collapse on the first day showed he had the bounce back ability factor by reaching 6 under par after 11 holes to hold the joint lead with Lee James on 10 under coming down the stretch.

Cousins was in the penultimate group and reached the 18th green knowing a par would see him finish on 10 under and force James to birdie the last to win. After what seemed like and age Cousins, who was putting from just off the front of the green, rammed his first effort some 12 feet past the hole and failed to make the return to bogey and drop back to 9 under par. This left James to make a par to win which he did with the simplest of tap-ins and pick up another first place cheque for £5,000. Chris Cousins showed courage and integrity in recovering from his day one stumble to finish in second place and collect a nice cheque for £2,500.

Trevor Jones although failing to have an impact on the final battle for first place in the end did manage to add £100 to his joint 3rd place cheque for £1,250 by holing out his tee shot on the 8th for a rare hole in one.

Caversham Heath is a fabulous venue with John the head green keeper keeping the course in pristine condition and Belinda in the clubhouse ensuring that everyone is kept fed and watered we would recommend you pay it a visit, you will not be disappointed.

Wind expert Franny McGuirk takes the title at The Earls.

Jamega's biggest ever 1st prize of £7000 goes to Francis McGuirk, at a windy Wawickshire

On to The Warwickshire to play The Earls Course which again was beautifully presented for the players but, who would make hay while the sun shone with our biggest ever first place cheque of £7,000 on offer to the winner?

With just the lightest of breezes it would be the early starters on day one that could take advantage if their game was on song.

We had the services of Colin (the Course Marshall) ensuring a smooth passage through the first hole and play started promptly at 7-00am and then it was a matter of waiting for the scores to role in.

As we suspected the scoring was going to be quite low in the benign conditions and sure enough Miles Mackman posted the early target of 5 under par 67 for the others to chase. Steve Surry, John Banbury and last weeks winner Lee James got to within one shot of Mackman, each of them scoring impressive 4 under par 68’s.

At the end of the long first day some 24 players out of the 138 strong field broke par, including local favourite Rory Kirwan but Mackman was still the king of the castle and would be looking to break his duck and win as a professional for the first time.

The wind was up on day two, coming from the prevailing South West, so the course would play as the architect Karl Litton intended. Simon Lilly and Ben Jones both added 3 under par 69’s to their first round 72’s to set a reasonable target of 3 under par for the leaders to beat. James Ruebotham joined the party on 3 under adding a one under par 71 to his first round 70.

In the final three groups it was Kieran Staunton who was making a charge with a blistering outward half of 3 under par 33 to reach 6 under par with nine holes to play. However his challenge floundered on the homeward run with two dropped shots that un-did all the good work of the first nine leaving him with the clubhouse lead at 4 under par.

The penultimate group included the experienced pair of Lee James and Francis McGuirk and it was McGuirk who was playing steady golf through the closing holes with par after par being tucked away whilst James was making no inroads on par at all. McGuirk refused a fairly simple offer of a birdie at the last and so settled for a final total of 6 under par and waited for the last group to appear.

In the last game Mackman was plodding along steadily keeping pace with McGuirk and Staunton over the front nine but a bogey littered back nine eventually dropped him down into a tie for 5th place on 3 under par. Mackman’s playing partner, Steve Surry going for broke trying to birdie the last for second place on his own blasted his first putt for birdie way past the hole but manfully holed the return to join Staunton and James on 4 under par each of them winning £2,000.

However it was McGuirk, who’s motto is “hit it hard, find it and hit it hard again”, who deservedly pocketed the first prize cheque for £7,000 with a fine display of golf over a testing layout.

With two tremendous golf courses and helpful staff providing a welcoming atmosphere there is no better place to play golf than The Warwickshire.

James Webber secures first victory in fine style

James Webber

Long and wet best described the first day at the par 74 International Course at The Vale Golf Club near Pershore, set in the Vale of Evesham. Wet referred to the weather, ” long” best described the length of time it took the competitors to complete the golf course!

With a par of 74 very few players were managing to get into the sixties and for some while and it was not until the later starters began to come in that par was breached.

Jordan Smith, Myles Pearson, Rob Bardsley and Stuart Hemming started to find a way to undo the par each of them carding one under par 73’s to briefly lead.

The James boys, David and Lee, stole their thunder and assumed the lead with 2 under par 72’s. Their pomp only lasted for minutes as the last group arrived at the scorers desk with first Ian Winstanley carding a 71, then Paul Streeter bettered that with a 4 under par 70 but at last James Webber broke into the sixties with a 5 under par 69 to lead going into the second day.

A breezier day greeted the players for the second day and it was James Ablett who set an early target of 3 under par scoring a fine 69 but with the final group all going deeper into par it looked an unlikely winning total. Kris Jones, Mark Hooper, John Banbury and David James soon joined Ablett.

Stuart Hemming set a realistic target at 5 under par adding a solid 70 to his first round but with the leaders playing unfaltering golf it was not going to be good enough. In the last group Ian Winstanley and Paul Streeter, although playing good attacking golf, could only watch as James Webber continued to match all they could throw at him.

Webber continued to march on remorselessly and even had the luxury of being able to score a rare bogey at the last and still win by 3 shots adding a second 5 under par to his first round effort. Streeter (71) and Winstanley (70) shared second place on 7 under par each winning £1,750 however it was James Webber who took the well deserved first place cheque for £5,000.

The Vale International is a picturesque golf course offering stunning greens to putt on and manicured fairways to hit from.The hospitality is boundless and with fairly priced food and drink it offers an excellent golfing destination for players of every standard.