Garnett on Golf: Keen rivals impress at Felixstowe in Winter Fourball

The Suffolk Winter Alliance meeting at Hintlesham attracted a field of 104. The winners from Stoke b

The Suffolk Winter Alliance meeting at Hintlesham attracted a field of 104. The winners from Stoke by Nayland were Mark Baxter, John Partridge, Roger Gardiner and Gary Borthwick with 86 points. Runners-up with 82 points were Ady Gipson, Andy Goodwin, Duncan McDonald and Ben Forgan from Stowmarket. Third place went to Bernie Aldous, Chris Ward, Julie Blatchley and Alan Brown of Felixstowe Ferry with 81 points. The only professional in the field, Luke Tyler of Bramford Water Park, had a round of 74. Pictured: From left: John Partridge, Roger Gardiner, Mark Baxter and Gary Borthwick. Photograph: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Ben David and Cai James have been keen rivals during their amateur days at Colchester Golf Club. Now both are professionals, writes Tony Garnett.

David is a tournament player while James has just started his PGA qualifications.

Both produced encouraging displays in the Felixstowe Winter December Fourball event. David won the professional prize with a round of 68 while James was a shot behind level with Daniel Brooks, Jon Robson and Sam Forgan.

They were notable scalps for David.

Brooks, attached to Mill Hill Golf Club, has played on the PGA European Tour since 2013.

In 2014 he won the Madeira Islands Open after a play-off. The highlight of his career came last year when he finished third in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters after a third round of 64 saw him go out on the final day with eventual winner Sergio Garcia.

Robson’s glory days came in 1996 when he was runner-up to Stephen Ames in the Benson and Hedges International Open at The Oxfordshire in a field that included Ballesteros, Faldo, Woosnam and many more household names at the time.

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Robson now plays at Orsett and has supported the winter events at Felixstowe for several years.

Forgan of Stowmarket has been playing on the PGA Europro Tour and Jamega Tour this year.

Another well-known name in the field was Dale Whitnell of Forrester Park who played in the 2009 Walker Cup at Merion Golf Club in the United States.

The losing GB and I team also included Tommy Fleetwood.

Ricky Fowler, Peter Uihlein and Morgan Hoffman were in the United States team.

Whitnell, who finished his amateur career with a handicap of plus five, broke the course record at Aldeburgh when playing for Essex in the South East Group county qualifier.

Professional scores at Felixstowe were: 68: Ben David (Colchester). 69: Daniel Brooks (Mill Hill), Jon Robson (Orsett), Sam Forgan (Stowmarket). 70: Andy Shakespear (The Warren). 72: Dale Whitnell (Forrester Park). 73: Scott Hudson (The Warren), Miles Collins (Stoke by Nayland), Louis Atkinson. 74: Neil Mitchell (Ipswich Golf Centre), Connor Wordsall (The Essex). 76: Simon Harrison (Gog Magog). 77: Simon Dainty (Lee Westwood School).

Shakespear and nine-handicap Brett Patmore won the better ball with 45 points on count back from Miles Collins and his five-handicap father Gerald from Stoke by Nayland.

Other scores included: 43: Ben David and Joseph Moore, Brooks and Jason Renton, Paul Wilby and Roger Toone. 42: Forgan and Matt Lockwood (Stowmarket), Ian Carter and Paul Lankester (Stoke by Nayland). 41: Harrison and Kevin Earp (Stowmarket), Whitnell and Sam Spooner. Mitchell and Andrew Franklin, Dainty and Samuel Kinnane, Wordsall and Mark Pearson. 39: Bill Eke and Kevin Prince. 38: Alan Sharrocks and Andrew Smith. 37: Roger Cordy and Peter Miller. 35: Chris Ginn and Rod Powney.

OLLIE Rush of Haverhill Golf Club and captain of Suffolk PGA was among professionals who came up with a novel idea to encourage ladies into golf.

Working with, inspired by former Hintlesham professional Alasdair Spink, their annual conference at St Pancras in London was linked new thinking.

Office workers from nearby businesses were to be seen hitting a ball made of paper with a broom around the streets.

They enjoyed this unusual experience.

One of the participants said: “It was very much a leap into the unknown. We went outside feeling that golf was not really for us, especially with all its rules. It turned out to be a brilliant way to spend our lunch hour and gave us a totally different view of golf.”

Reflecting on a conference which included a number of new coaches and individuals looking to become part of the coaching workforce Spink said: “Our community of coaches are doing an incredible job of introducing more women into the game all around the country.

Bringing them together for the conference provides an opportunity to learn from one another and, hopefully, to go back to their venue with new ideas and energy to make a meaningful impact in driving up female participation numbers.”

Also attending the conference was Head of Education for the PGA of Spain, José Perez, who is spearheading similar pilots in Spain.

HABEBUL Islam, Suffolk’s England boys’ international, is planning to enter events in Europe in the New Year.

He has set his sights on the Portuguese Amateur Championship at Montado near Lisbon between February13 and 16.

Then comes the Spanish Amateur Championship at Las Colinas near Alicante between February 27 and March 3.

He is also considering the French Amateur Championship, the Murat Cup, at Chantilly Golf Club between May 17 and 19.

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