Martin Sell back in winning form

Martin SellOn Sunday we ran a very successful Pro-Am tournament for Mentmore Golf & C.C.  sponsored by local car leasing company Greenfleets, their generosity ensuring an excellent prize-fund for the professionals and great prizes for the Team Amateurs.

It was a huge success and enjoyed by both the Amateurs and Professionals alike. Our sincere thanks to both the Mentmore organising team and all sponsors.

A breezy start on the first day made shot making difficult but the immaculately prepared greens gave the better putters in the field a chance to post a score. Some 45 players managed to beat the par of 72 including Mark Chamberlain who after a mundane 2 over par 38 front nine went into overdrive completing the back half in a stunning 29 shots which included 5 birdies and an eagle.

Even his 5 under par score was not good enough to head the leader board and he joined Michael Lowe, Kieran Staunton, Michael Bush, Shaun Malone and Darryn Lloyd one shot behind Ian Winstanley on 66 who headed the charge to catch Martin Sell and Andy Shakespear who both shot magnificent 7 under par 65’s.

Things always hot up on the second day and local hero Will Roebuck was looking to leap up the leader board and a possible win, however both Shakespear and Sell stood in his way, 3 shots ahead.

Nathan Treacher showed what was possible by carding the second back nine score of 29 in two days for a 7 under par 65 and elevation into the prize fund.
Lee Corfield bolted out of the pack to set an early target of 10 under by adding a flawless 7 under par card of 65 to his first round 69.

Roebuck started badly by bogeying the first hole but after that he made a headlong charge for the title. Carding 8 birdies in the remaining 17 holes to overtake Corfield as clubhouse leader at 11 under par. Now all he could do was wait and see if it would be good enough.

The two first round leaders were enduring differing fortunes on the front nine with Sell stumbling along to reach the turn in one over par 37 which dropped him well behind the main contenders who were all making birdies.

Shakespear on the other hand was making steady progress up the leader board and turned in 34 to lie just one behind the clubhouse leaders with nine holes to play.

Sell birdied ten and eleven to make up a little lost ground but still had a lot to do.
Shakespear also birdied ten and continued to harvest pars still wondering if it was to be, or not to be his day.
With Sell parring the twelfth and thirteenth the tournament had play-off written all over it. However suddenly Sell started an amazing charge of a man possessed, with a run of 3 birdies and an eagle on the 17th that vaulted him into the lead on 13 under par. Shakespear also birdied the 17th to get to 11 under and with the difficult 18th to play it was still not over.
Both hit good tee shots but Sell tugged his second which looked water bound for a swim but the ball just pulled up short leaving him with a very difficult pitch to the green and a hoped for bogey at worse.
With little or no room for a back swing Sell played a magnificent recovery to within 4 feet and then confidently rolled in his par putt to win the first prize cheque for £6,000.
This left Roebuck and Shakespear in joint second place on 11 under par, each winning £2,375 as a consolation.
Mentmore’s course manager, Danny, always presents the course in pristine condition and this coupled with the hospitality on offer in the clubhouse makes it a must visit golfing destination.

Crowned at The Shire London

Gary King takes his first win at Seve's Course

It was with mixed emotions that we set off for our 5th event of the year at the Severiano Ballesteros designed Shire London Masters Course. With Seve having sadly passed away only hours before, after fighting a deadly brain tumour for three years. It was to be a bitter, sweet tournament for us and the 132 professionals playing in the event.

As a mark of respect to Seve we gave all the pro’s a black ribbon to wear throughout the two days and to a man they all did so. This showed the immense respect for the man who did for European golf what Arnold Palmer did for American golf.

As with everything he did Seve produced a layout that was extraordinary as opposed to a traditionally laid out golf course. With 6 par three’s, 6 par fours and 6 par fives it would test the patience and imagination of all the players.

As seems to be the norm now, the first day saw an ever strengthening wind sweeping the cobwebs away from the Shire London Masters course and it was a definite  advantage to go out as an early starter. This proved to be the case when the first group home included a 5 under par 65 from Tony Piccolo and a 4 under par 66 from recent winner Andrew Johnston. Gary King, playing in group 6 also produced a sparkling 5 under 65 to join Piccolo at the top table.

Guy Woodman, in group two produced a solid 3 under 67 to stay in touch with the leaders and he was joined by Martin Sell, Tommy Haylock and Scott Fallon in the chasing posse.

A stroke further back on 2 under par 68 came James Busby and Jay Beisser. Charlie Simpson, who by the way had a nasty 8 on the 16th hole in his 1 under 69, sat a further one shot behind alongside Mark Laskey, Westley Wray and Adam Carson.

With the scene set for day two with a calmer wind and bright sunshine we wondered would Piccolo hold his nerve to gain his first Jamega Tour win or would the more experienced players overtake him?

Although the conditions were calmer the scoring seemed worse for some strange reason though the exception was James Horn who shot a brilliant 4 under par 66 to rocket him up into the prize fund into joint 10th winning £360 for his efforts.

Unfortunately first round leader Piccolo stumbled a little with a closing 5 over but still finished joint 6th winning £650 and gaining a lot of experience. As the leaders reached the final holes the lead was grasped by Gary King with birdies on 15 and 16 which took him to 6 under par. Haylock who was challenging King for the lead until he stumbled giving stokes away with bogeys at 14 and 16 to eventually finish second to win £3,000.

Although with a 2 shot lead King was not home and dry yet with water playing a part in both the finishing holes. However he negotiated both with pars and stood victorious, winning by two and picking up the winner’s cheque for £6,000.

Although an emotional tournament tinged with sadness I am sure that Seve would have been proud of his legacy, his creation, the magnificent Shire Masters Course.

A true test for one and all, a “must play” for all your diaries, give The Shire a call, take on the challenge that Seve has set for golfers of all standards.

Severiano Ballesteros
  1957 ~ 2011
You will always be admired and never forgotten.

Lee James battles wind & hayfever to win at Cumberwell.

Lee JamesOnto Cumberwell Park for our fourth event of the year and as usual the course was in fantastic condition with near perfect greens and beautifully manicured fairways you would imagine that there would low scores aplenty. However with a very strong wind whistling in from the East defending its honour a low score would be very hard to come by at Cumberwell Park on day one.

Mark Laskey turned in a very solid 2 under par 69 to set the bar a level that most thought could not be beaten as the wind increased throughout the day. John Banbury, Ian Winstanley, James Ablett and Gregg Blainey almost got there finishing on 1 under par 70 for the day.

James Ruth braved the elements to join Laskey on 2 under but they were all eclipsed by an unbelievable round of golf from Lee James who powered his way through the wind to present a faultless card to the recorders desk containing 5 birdies for a stunning 5 under par 66 to lead by three shots going into the second day.

Day two saw the sun shining again. Holding a three shot lead going into the last round could prove to be a double edged sword for Lee James. Does he still attack the course or defend his lead?

With the wind slowly decreasing in strength to just a breeze but still coming into the golfers from the East, several holes became good birdie chances on day two. Kris Jones was the first to rattle the leaders cage carding a 3 under par 68 which when added to his first round 74 placed him on level par for the tournament and in the clubhouse lead. His stay on the top of the heap didn’t last long though as Francis McGuirk who also shot a 3 over first round 74 edged out Jones with a final day 4 under par 67 to sit on 1 under for the event.

The lead changed again when Dale Whitnell, who at one point was 7 under after 14 holes and scaring the leader James, eventually finished with a best of the tournament 5 under par 66 to set a realistic target of 4 under par total for the leader Lee James to beat. Hot on Whitnell's heels in the group behind came Miles Mackman who was always playing catch-up throughout the afternoon and just failed to match Witnells tournament, score holing out at the last for an excellent 3 under par 68.

James meanwhile was trying to recover from a stuttering start to his round after a one over par front nine which briefly gave the pursuing pack a glimmer of hope. Benefiting from a short delay on the 10th tee, which gave James a chance to recover his positive thoughts of yesterday, he riffled an iron down the 10th fairway to set up a welcome birdie which inspired him to then wrench a brilliant Eagle from the short par five, 11th to re-establish a more comfortable cushion.

Meanwhile Tour newcomer Ian Winstanley, playing in the penultimate group, matched Mackman's 3 under total, both hoping to cling onto joint 3rd place. This looked an unlikely possibility with Mark Laskey on the last tee needing a par at this relatively simple finishing hole to join Whitnell on 4 under in second place. However Lasky incurred a penalty drop and finally holed out for a bogey 5 to join Mackman and Winstanley in third place each eventually winning £1,250.

Whitnell who was sat rueing his poor finish got the news that Laskey had bogeyed the last to leave him alone in second and with a consolation cheque for £2,500. James was breathing a sigh of relief after birdieing the 17th, which re-established his 3 shot lead, easily holed out for par at the last to win the tournament and the £5,000 first place cheque.

Cumberwell Park is one of our favourite stops on tour and as usual was faultless, with a beautifully presented golf course and hospitality which was boundless. It has a combination of 4 nine-hole courses of completely differing characters that will suit golfers of all standards, come and enjoy this truly terrific venue, we unreservedly recommend it to all.

Our next event at The Shire next week is now full and we are only taking reserves, we would urge everyone who wants to play in the remaining Jamega Tour events to enter soon, to avoid disappointment.