Pride is intact after Earp shoots 66

KEVIN Earp of the Bury Golf Range produced a four under par round of 66 at Rushmere to put Suffolk PGA on their way to a victory over the Suffolk county amateur team by six-and-a-half matches to three-and-a-half.

By Tony Garnett

KEVIN Earp of the Bury Golf Range produced a four under par round of 66 at Rushmere to put Suffolk PGA on their way to a victory over the Suffolk county amateur team by six-and-a-half matches to three-and-a-half.

This annual friendly match played in glorious sunshine is part of the Suffolk amateurs' preparation for the forthcoming Anglian League. The professionals also enjoy playing for pride against testing opposition that should sharpen them up for PGA East Region Order of Merit events. The format was medal match play.

All members of the Suffolk amateur team bar one were either plus or scratch players so the professionals, whose competitive play can be restricted by club commitments and teaching, did well to win overall.


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Michael Swan, recent winner of the Stoke by Nayland Junior Open title, was unfortunate to meet Earp in such blistering form.

A birdie at the testing 433-yard par-four opening hole helped Earp to a level par first nine. He was four under par on his back nine with an eagle at the 480-yard par-five 11th and successive birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th .

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There were two nail-biting matches with players halving in level par 70. Jamie Abbott, off to represent the English Golf Union in Peru, pulled a shot back on the 18th hole to halve with Simon Harrison (Thorpeness) who was runner-up in the PGA East Region Order of Merit last year.

Will Wright, the Rushmere member who has an excellent county record, was one behind on the final tee against Neil Mitchell (Bury Golf Range) but also managed to share the honours.

Tony Dobson (Stonham Barns) halved with Scott Brace (Stoke by Nayland), soon off to the United States to check on university life, both finishing in 73.

Tim Johnson of Woodbridge was trailing by four shots at the turn to James Reiss (Aldeburgh) who is also soon off to the United States to attend Iowa University.

Costly slips by Reiss at the 11th and 12th brought the match level and another double at the 13th saw Johnson ahead for the first time. He went on to win by a single shot.

Suffolk PGA captain Paul Wilby (Fynn Valley) kept ahead of EGU under-18 squad member Liam Brace (Stoke by Nayland), Andrew Robinson (Felixstowe Ferry) overcame Suffolk stroke play champion Alex Holmes (Gorleston) while Andrew Cotton (Ufford Park) never looked back after Kevin Eagle (Rushmere) had dropped three shots in the opening two holes and was trailing by six shots at the turn.

Victories for the amateurs came when Chris Smith earned bragging rights at Fynn Valley by beating Simon Dainty, the Suffolk Open champion, by 72 to 75.

In the final match, which finished in semi-darkness, Brad Wilkins (Fynn Valley) had a shot in hand over Kelvin Vince (Rushmere).

The match was attended by Graham Caughey and Dell Bower, the presidents of the Suffolk Golf Union and Suffolk PGA.

Scores

(Suffolk PGA names first):

Kevin Earp (Bury Golf Range) 68 Michael Swan (Stoke by Nayland) 75, Neil Mitchell (Bury Golf Range) 70 Will Wright (Rushmere) 70, Andrew Robinson (Felixstowe Ferry) 73 Alex Holmes (Gorleston) 77, Simon Harrison (Thorpeness) 70 Jamie Abbott (Fynn Valley) 70, Tim Johnson (Woodbridge) 76 James Reiss (Aldeburgh) 77, Andrew Cotton (Ufford Park) 72 Kevin Eagle (Rushmere) nr, Paul Wilby (Fynn Valley) 70 Liam Brace (Stoke by Nayland) 74, Simon Dainty (Fynn Valley) 75 Chris Smith (Fynn Valley) 72, Tony Dobson (Stonham Barns) 73 Scott Brace (Stoke by Nayland) 73, Kelvin Vince (Rushmere) 74 Bradley Wilkins (Fynn Valley) 73.

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