Magnificent, that is the only word to describe the condition of the Gog Magog Old Course as competitors rolled up on a hot and sunny Saturday morning for the first round of the County Championship.
The fine fescue rough was up to waist height so it was important for the County’s best golfers to keep the ball on the short stuff. It was evident from an early stage by the number of provisional balls being played, that many were finding the conditions testing to say the least.
The first round leader was 47 year old Andrew Grimwood from the St Neots Golf Club, fresh from his success in the Hamish Fleming County Fourball with young Olly Toyer. He scored an excellent 68 with only one dropped shot. He was closely followed by James Curran of the home club with 69. James has moved down from Warrington and settling in well into golf in Cambridgeshire.
The day ended with many of the current County A team players moving to the top of the leader board with last year’s joint Champion Ed Dimambro leading by 3 strokes with a halfway total of 70+67=137. He was followed by Joe York(140), Danny Loveday (142), and a host of other players on 143 and 144.
Dimambro has been on top of his game this year, and his form continued to impress after his 3rd place finish in the recent Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog. The halfway cut fell at an amazing 17 over par as 31 golfers made it to the final day.
The winner of the January Cup was Andrew Grimwood with a very commendable net score of 140.
The Championship Shield was won by a strong Gog Magog team comprising Ed Dimambro, George Howard and Josh Austin Tierney with a two round total of 423.
After the 3rd round our leader had stretched his lead to 5 shots with another sub-par round of 69 to be on 4 under par. There was now a three way share of 2nd place with James McLaughlin of Ely City moving into contention with a fine 68, with Joe York and George Howard of the home club all on one over par. George followed up his second round 69 with another sub-par round of 68.
The final round of the Championship suddenly got exciting as Ed dropped shots on the 1st and 7th holes as James McLaughlin moved within a shot with birdies at the 6th and 8th.
It stayed this way until Ed birdied the par 5 fourteenth hole to regain a 2 shot lead only to give it away with a bogey on the 15th hole. James played a fantastic final round with 2 birdies and 16 pars to finish up with a 68 and a final total of one under par 279. He is one of CAGU’s rising stars and much is expected of him in the years to come.
It was now all down to Ed now who was playing behind James and as he reached the 72 hole.
I will let him describe his thoughts as he strode to the 18th tee
“Walking to the tee I asked those there to not tell me the current state of play as I didn’t want to know and just wanted to focus on playing the hole as best I could and see where that left me. After a bit of thought I decided to go with the aggressive play and pulled out driver with the intention of flying the left trap and taking most of the danger out of play and hit a really quality tee shot under pressure that left me 116 to the flag. I followed this with a solid approach shot to about 15 feet and rolled it in down the slope which was a lovely way to finish. Getting the confirmation after holing out that I had defended the title was an
So at the end of a memorable Championship, Dimambro is now a 3 times winner and will be chasing down Lee Yearn’s incredible record of 10 County Championship wins in the years to come.
Joe York finished in 3rd spot on 282 and the under 21 prize went to 14 year old Olly Toyer of the St Neots Golf club with an excellent score of 291.
All of the Championship scores can be found on the Men’s Championship page.
Our thanks must go to the Gog Magog Golf club for their tremendous support during this championship. The course was in incredible condition so many thanks to Estate Manager Andrew Howarth and his team and to the clubhouse staff for their friendly helpful service and lovely food over the two days.
Also a special mention for Titleist and FootJoy for their much valued support of this Championship.
Next year’s Championship will take place at the Saffron Walden Golf Club on 11/12 June. I will leave the final words to our 2021 Champion
“I felt that sticking to a clear strategy was key to playing the course this year as the rough was as brutal as it has ever been and it was so important to avoid it, even if that meant having to hit an extra club or two into the greens. I knew my short game was in good order so it was a decision to give up length off the tee to plot my way around the Old Course. I planned to just hit driver on just 5 and 14 which I stuck to until the final hole of the day. The course was in the best condition I have known it in my time as a member and it caps a good few weeks for me having had a good performance in the Lagonda Trophy in May. I am very much looking forward representing the county in the Champion of Champions at Woodhall Spa in September and I will do my best to try and defend my title next year.”
Pictures of the events can be seen at Kevin Diss photography.