The competitors taking part this year were met with glorious sunshine at an Ely City golf course in wonderful condition considering the amount of rain it had suffered in recent weeks.
It was a full field as usual in this popular CAGU event with 46 pairs taking part in the fourball Stableford format. The 1st round leaders with 43 points were the 2019 champions Chris Brown and Christian Puttock of the Links Golf Club. Christian’s putter was on fire as he helped his team with 5 birdies of his own.
They were closely followed by James McLaughlin and Jack Yates of the homeclub with 42 points. They were joined on this score late in the 1st round by Andrew Grimwood and 14 year old Oliver Toyer of St Neots. Oliver is the son of the club professional Paul and plays of a handicap of 1 and is one of CAGU’s most promising youngsters.
McLaughlin and Yates surged into a 3 point lead in the afternoon going out in 23 points and further birdies on the back nine put them in a very strong position until a double bogey at the difficult 17 th hole somewhat spoiled their card. They still came in with a very creditable score of 43 points for a total of 85 points which was going to be difficult to beat.
First round leaders Brown and Puttock fell away in the afternoon so it was now all down to Grimwood and Toyer to prevent Ely City claiming another home victory in this prestigious event.
Andrew Grimwood’s partner pulled out of the event a few days ago so it was great to see him ask young Oliver to partner him. Andrew plays off 2 handicap himself and not long ago moved to St Neots from Lincolnshire. Last October he
helped St Neots win the Goddard Cup for the 1 st time with a great score of 70 gross at Saffron Walden.
The pair were out in a creditable 22 points and were slowly catching the Ely pair until a superb eagle by Toyer at the par 5 thirteenth hole jumped them into the lead by one point.
It was a question of hanging on now and an excellent putt by Oliver at the 17th to save par followed by a 3 wood and 8 iron to the last hole for par and the job was done as they scored 44 points for a winning total of 86 points.
Many thanks to Club Manager Anthony Roberts and his staff for looking after everybody so well on a long day of golf. The clubhouse has just been refurbished and looked very smart indeed.
Fourball Stapleford is not an easy competition to run and with the new World Handicap System bringing us all handicap indexes, slope ratings, 85% of handicap allowance etc etc it promised to be a nightmare experience for myself as organiser. I need not have worried, as the competitors embraced the scoring system, entering scores on their mobile phones hole by hole and it worked perfectly, so my thanks go out to them all for making my job so easy.
Next year’s Hamish Fleming will take place at the Links Golf Club, Newmarket on the 10 th April. Hamish, who died in his captain’s year at the Links in 2018 will be looking down in pride as his memorial trophy will be played at his club for the first time.