Unsettled weather greeted the 65 competitors taking part in the County Open at the Links Golf Club last Sunday. Thirteen professional golfers from Cambridgeshire clubs were in the field, including the defending champion Paul Maddy from Gog Magog.
There was a strong amateur presence looking for a first win for the amateur ranks since 2015 when James Reeson took the title.
The course looked to be in wonderful condition with some tricky pin placements to test even the best putting strokes.
The leader after the 1st round was amateur Richard Southall from Saffron Walden Golf Club with a one under par round of 71 which included birdies on all four of the par 5’s and another on the 11th hole.
He was closely followed by holder Paul Maddy on 72 and Callum Brookes, assistant professional at Saffron Walden. Callum is a former winner of the John Durman Handicap Trophy in 2014 when he was just sixteen years of age. Still well in contention were amateurs Adam Northfield of St Neots and George Howard of Gog Magog both on 74.
The rain had largely subsided when the players set off for their afternoon round and it wasn’t long before the course was bathed in sunshine.
After a brief foray by George Howard who birdied his 2nd hole of the second round then followed it with an eagle at the next to get close to the lead, it then turned out to be a battle between Southall and Maddy for the title as they exchanged blows throughout the afternoon.
The Saffron Walden player raced 2 shots ahead with birdies at the 1st and 5th holes but Maddy hit back with 4 birdies of his own. Although Richard had two more birdies, he had 5 bogeys, and finished with a commendable 73 for a level par total of 144.
Paul only dropped one shot at the par 3 12th hole and a fine 69 for a total of 141 gave the former European Tour player the title by 3 strokes.
The John Durman Handicap Trophy was fiercely contested by Cameron Izzard of Gog Magog, and two home club members Christian Puttock and Dan Knight.
The winner on 146 net was Dan Knight winning on a card play off from Christian Puttock. Cameron looked to have it in the bag after eagling the par five 13th hole but 5 dropped shots on the remaining holes meant that he missed out by only one stroke.
Golf has always been a game where it doesn’t matter how young or old you are if you are good enough. This was highlighted by 60 year old Terry Ryan of Ely City and 14 year old Sam Marshall of Elton Furze, both playing in the same event and both winning prizes.
Sam who scored an impressive 152 gross, is one of many talented CAGU youngsters coming through and the future looks very bright for the County in years to come.
Contrasting fortunes were experienced by young Teddy Hall of the home club. After having a golf lesson the previous day, he started with a disastrous 81 only to make a startling comeback in the afternoon with brilliant 69.
A special mention to the Links Golf Club for their hospitality on the day, a club where CAGU are always made very welcome and to Titleist and FootJoy, without their financial support, this prestigious Championship could not take place.
Next year’s County Open will take place on the Gog Magog Old Course on the 21st August.
Other Prize winners
2nd Luke Bowers 147
3rd George Howard 147
4th Owen Davies 147
5th Teddy Hall 150
6th Richard Temple 150
John Durman Handicap Trophy
Dan Knight 148-2 = 146
Christian Puttock 152-6=146
Cameron Izzard 157-10=147
Joe Austin 158-8=150
2nd Ben Kerr 145
3rd Andrew George 148
4th Dean Fairweather 149
5th Callum Brookes 150
6th Paul Toyer 151
Best under scratch 21 prize Sam Marshall 152
Best Senior scratch prize Terry Ryan 161