James Biggs wins the Suffolk Amateur Championship after record round at Diss Golf Club
- Credit: Archant
Twenty-one year old James Biggs spreadeagled the field with a course record round of 63 in the first round of the Suffolk Amateur Championship at Diss. He followed up with a two over par 72 to be a clear winner of the Todd Cup by six shots from Josh Driver who won the John Doe Salver.
Biggs had seven birdies with no dropped shots in the morning and three more in the afternoon when the wind became stronger.
What a difference a year makes. Biggs was going through a lean spell at the time of last year’s Suffolk Amateur Championship at Aldeburgh. He buckled down hours on the practice ground to restore his self-belief. Currently he is Suffolk’s most consistent player.
Driver and Paul Waring, who was fourth in the Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog, were joint second at lunch with level par 70.
Driver, with a large following of club members, was one over par in the afternoon to be runner-up four shots ahead of Hintlesham’s Jack Cardy and Suffolk Open champion Sam Debenham. Driver had a stroke of luck on the 18th when his tee-shot looked destined for gorse down the left but found a clearing. He made the most of the good fortune to end his round with a birdie.
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Waring won the prize for the best morning gross score, apart from the main prize winners. The afternoon gross winner, also with 70, was Calvin Sherwood of Rookery Park.
County selectors will note Adam Sheldrake’s rounds of 76 and 70. He is now at Felixstowe Ferry having lived in South Africa.
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Monty Scowsill was striking the ball well until late in the day when he slipped down the leader board to seventh place.
Defending champion Gregor Tait of Aldeburgh may have recalled his matches against his father Graham in their Seckford days. Gregor was seven shots behind Graham in the morning but regained family supremacy in the afternoon despite being out of contention for the Todd Cup by lunch.
It was a memorable day for Diss. Their course was immaculate for the first time they had staged this Championship.
They became Suffolk’s champion club thanks to Biggs, Driver and four-handicap Charlie Taylor, son of the club professional, who won the handicap prize with rounds of 76 and 73. The other handicap winners were Sheldrake and Diss stalwart Archie Moore.
The winning Diss team will represent Suffolk in the English Champion Club tournament at East Devon Golf Club at Budleigh Salterton on September 23.
Chris Bartrum, runner-up in the championship for the past two years, was unable to make the most of playing on his home course.
He will have been disappointed with rounds of 77 and 74.
Danny Western of Gorleston had just returned from the Welsh Mid-Amateur Championship at Machynys Peninsula Golf Club when he finished fourth in a blanket finish one shot behind the winner.
The stage looked set for Suffolk’s leading juniors to make an impact.
It did not happen.
George Fricker was best with 150 three ahead of Alfie Halil and Habebul Islam. Conal Downing of Rookery Park ‘s first round of 77 included a nine on the 13th. He is making up for lost time after being out for months with a broken arm a couple of years ago. It was a pity that Max Adams, who did so well in Scotland, withdrew with a foot injury.
Suffolk Amateur Championship scores
135: J Biggs (Diss) 63 72 (Todd Cup).
141: J Driver (Diss) 70 71 (John Doe Salver).
145: J Cardy (Hintlesham) 74 71, S Debenham (Hintlesham) 73 72.
146: C Sherwood (Rookery Park) 76 70, A Sheldrake (Felixstowe Ferry) 76 70.
147: M Scowsill (Aldeburgh) 71 76. P Waring (Felixstowe Ferry) 70 77.
148: J Forgan (Stowmarket) 75 73, L Thompson (Rookery Park) 73 75, A Cunningham (Stowmarket) 72 76.
149: C Taylor (Diss) 76 73, R Harston (Felixstowe Ferry) 75 74, J Seeley (Newton Green) 75 74.
150: J Johnson (Ipswich) 80 70, G Fricker (Ufford Park) 78 72.
151: D Western (Gorleston) 77 74, R Oakey (Newton Green) 74 77.
152: S Bearman (Newton Green) 75 77, C Bartrum (Diss) 74 78.
153: A Halil (Flempton) 77 76, Habebul Islam (Ipswich) 76 77, J Robertson (Ufford Park) 75 78, G Hills (Felixstowe Ferry) 74 79, J Jones (Hintlesham) 74 79.
154: A Moore (Diss) 78 76, C Downing (Rookery Park) 77 77, J Reiss (Aldeburgh) 79 78, B Coleman (Bury St Edmunds) 77 77, G Mummery (Rookery Park) 75 79.
155: L Martin (Haverhill) 80 75.
156: C Nurse (Bury St Edmunds) 79 77.
157: B Sayers (Felixstowe Ferry) 84 73, L Hansey (Bungay) 79 78, C Weller (Diss) 79 78, P Ashenden (Woodbridge) 77 80.
158: J Tyler (Ipswich) 83 75.
159: J Everitt (Flempton) 84 75, Gregor Tait (Aldeburgh) 83 76, D Maskell (Diss) 82 77, J Manser (Gorleston) 76 83.
160: J Dymond (Ipswich) 79 81.
161: J Phillips (Ipswich) 80 81.
162: D Rosser (Woodbridge) 82 80, T Osborn (Diss) 79 83.
163: M Gee (Bury St Edmunds) 82 81. Graham Tait (Woodbridge) 76 87.
165: M Duszynski (Ipswich) 84 81.
166: S Duffety (Bury St Edmunds) 87 79, J Butcher (Gorleston) 85 81, J Davey (Fynn Valley) 85 81.
167: R Dzierozynski (Woodbridge) 81 86.
168: E Doe (Diss) 82 86.
169: D Reid (Woodbridge) 81 88.
185: J Cuthbert (Thorpeness) 97 98.
No return: K Issitt (Stowmarket).
Withdrawn: S Byford (Ipswich), J Sewell (Diss), J Whitby (Ipswich), M Adams (Bury St Edmunds).
Standard scratch 72 in morning and 71 in afternoon.