Open champion strikes again

ADRIAN Meredith of Hintlesham Golf Club has become Suffolk Open champion for the second year in succession.

ADRIAN Meredith of Hintlesham Golf Club has become Suffolk Open champion for the second year in succession.

His victory at Stowmarket in 2007 was impressive, but Sunday's final round of 65 in a strong wind at Felixstowe Ferry was better still.

Meredith, a scratch amateur, was striking the ball superbly to set a course record. Three new championship tees at the second, sixth and eighth holes made this excellent links course the toughest test since the club was founded in 1880.

At the start of the third and final round, with the heavy rain of the morning having given way to bright sunshine, Meredith was eight shots behind Felixstowe Ferry assistant professional Andrew Robinson and six behind Paul Wilby, director of golf at Fynn Valley.


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It looked as though the professionals must prevail. It did not work out that way as Meredith, proving himself to be just as effective on links as he had been on parkland the previous year, retained the Faraday Cup and the Chris Easterbrook Salver for the leading amateur.

Robinson, who has been in good form, had plenty of local support after his opening rounds of 68 and 69 put him seven under par and hot favourite.

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Lost balls in the deceptively difficult rough and three putting from close range on the 10th saw Robinson's challenge fade.

This left Wilby with every chance. He had set the new professional course record of 67 in his opening round on Saturday. Two more level par rounds of 72 saw him miss out on a play-off by a single shot. He will reflect sadly on a weak finish to his second round and a missed putt on the 17th in his final round.

Robin Mann of Felixstowe Golf Range, who plays in the PGA Seniors Championship at Slaley Hall this week, looked to be in contention midway through the final round but he also dropped shots just when he seemed to be mounting a serious challenge.

There were countless tales of woe. Chris Smith of Fynn Valley lost a ball in the rough on the right on the last hole of his second round while Suffolk county first team colleague Will Wright had a similar experience in grass on the left on the same hole.

Kevin Eagle's seventh placed finish keeps him in pole position in the Suffolk Golf Union order of merit. The Rushmere player ended eight shots off the pace.

Patrick Spraggs of Stowmarket finished sixth and was the leading junior. In his opening round his tee shot at the par three12th bounced off the roof of the pro shop. The ball ended in Ian Macpherson's garden. Spraggs reloaded and sunk a slippery downhill put for a two with his second ball.

Had there been a team prize for the top three players, including professionals, it would have gone to Hintlesham. With Meredith leading the way, the left-handed Phil Westley ended well up the leader board with rounds of 74, 73 and 72. Sixteen-year-old Jack Cardy's second round of 68 is the new junior course record. He was mounting a challenge until derailed down the eighth in his final round.

Ryan Talbot of Brett Vale has emerged as a youngster of potential who is growing in confidence and will soon be knocking on the door of the county teams.

There were disappointments. Rhodri Harston must have hoped to take advantage of a major event on his home course. His first round of 77 only just made the cut and left him with too much to do.

Suffolk amateur stroke play champion Owen Pearl missed the cut as did youngsters Sam Forgan and Tom Stephenson who did so well in the event last year.

There were hard luck tales. Tim Cooper, the Newton Green professional, had to retire with a nose bleed while Daniel Griggs of Royal Worlington will never forget his two days.

His impressive 69 on Saturday elevated him the last three-ball. In the second round his electric trolley took off on its own and ended submerged in a ditch alongside the sixth green.

Griggs knew it was not his day in the final round on the 13th. His wind-assisted drive led to a search party looking in vain in grass on the right. Five minutes was up. He put a second ball into play. Then his first one was discovered in a greenside bunker.

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