Time to reflect on a successful few months in the Suffolk golfing world
With the golf season over it is time to reflect on the past few months when James Biggs of Diss collected all the Suffolk Golf Union silverware as well as winning the Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog.
Habebul Islam, the 17-year-old Ipswich Golf Club junior captain, was last week named as one of four new faces in the England boys’ training squad.
He has had consistently high finishes this season, with top ten finishes in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters and both the Tillman and Waterford Trophies.
He also made a winning debut for Suffolk when they beat Leicestershire at Stowmarket in September.
The other newcomers are Ben Schmidt of Rotherham who won the English junior champion of champions tournament at Woodhall Spa in which George Fricker (Ufford Park) finished third which was a splendid effort.
George Leigh of Cornwall and Josh Hill from Dubai joined a strong line-up.
Conor Gough, the reigning British boys’ champion, Barclay Brown, Robin Williams and Joe Pagdin all played for GB and Ireland in the Jacques Leglise Trophy against Europe. This match will be hosted by Aldeburgh next year.
Williams played for Northants against Suffolk at Stowmarket in the Anglian League in 2017.
The remaining squad members are: Ben Pierleoni (Berkhamsted), Max Hopkins (Bishops Stortford), Enrique Dimayuga (Walton Heath) and Matthew Freeman (Nottinghamshire).
Suffolk men won three of their five matches in the Anglian League fully justifying their decision to make Hintlesham a home venue.
Jack Cardy has handed the captaincy to his brother Joe for next year with Ben Sayers of Felixstowe Ferry as the new second team captain.
Suffolk’s four juniors with plus handicaps, Islam, Fricker, Alfie Halil and Max Adams could well be challenging for places in the men’s county teams.
Equally important is that they form the backbone of the boys’ team in the South East county qualifier at Orsett with John Maddock, a vastly experienced former county player, as team manager.
Maddock, currently running the golf at Gorleston, has a proud record in Suffolk amateur golf. He won the Suffolk Open in 1980, the Amateur title in 1993, 1994 and 1997 and the match play in 1989 and 1991. He also won the amateur foursomes with David Quinney in 2003.
Suffolk Ladies, captained by the enthusiastic Vanessa Bell, were unable to retain the East crown at Woodbridge but it might have been so different if Lottie Whyman had not become unwell on the morning of the first match and missed the entire week. Whyman had previously won the Astor Salver at Sunningdale.
Vicki Inglis takes over as captain. It’s a hard act to follow. She can look to county champion Alice Barlow for consistent results and Bell should be a valuable team member again.
Suffolk girls are still short of low handicap players pushing for places in the ladies’ first team.
Jamie Abbot (Ipswich) is currently playing in stage three of the PGA European Tour qualifying school at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona. He made a great start with rounds of 68 on the Hills course followed by 64 on the Lakes course with seven birdies and no dropped shots.
Other hopefuls from the East of England all fell at stage two when Abbott tied in 14th place at Desert Springs to progress with a single shot in hand.
A flying start of six under par 66 was followed by less impressive rounds of 71 and 74.
He needed to excel under pressure in his final round when four under par 68 was just enough despite a double on the 147-yard 14th hole. Abbott amassed 20 birdies in his four rounds.
Also at Desert Springs Simon Khan, a former Essex PGA champion, was going well until a final round of 75 left him two shots short.
Todd Clements of Braintree, who has only recently turned professional, started well with 68 but subsequent rounds of 71 74 and 71 let him down.
Sam Forgan of Stowmarket dropped out of contention with opening rounds of 75 and 76. Then two rounds of 70 came when the pressure was off.
It was frustrating for Hugo Dobson of Woodbridge to miss out by one shot at El Elcin. Miles Collins of Stoke by Nayland had a good third round of 69 but his other scores of 75 75 and 76 left him well down the field.
Neil Mitchell, attached to the Ipswich Golf Centre, won the professional prize at the November Felixstowe Ferry Winter Fourball meeting. His round of four under par 68 was two shots better than runners-up Connor Worsdall of The Essex, Will Farley of Rushmere and Cai James of Colchester.
There was an excellent field of 120 who found the course, especially the greens, in superb condition.
The better-ball winning pair were Worsdall and 12-handicap Rob Steed with 48 Stableford points, two ahead of Mitchell and eight-handicap Andrew Freeman.
Other professional scores were: 71: Chris Cutchie (Colchester). 74: Will Farrow (Diss). 75: Steve Loran (Colne Valley and Coastal Golf Academy), Jamie Moul (Stoke by Nayland). 76: Paul Wilby (Haverhill). 77: Simon Harrison (Gog Magog). 79: Mark Sturgess (Bourn), Scott Rusbridge (Colne Valley and Coastal Golf Academy). 82: Paul Eady (Brentwood), Andy Shakespear (The Warren). Scott Hudson (The Warren) had a no return. He and 10-handicap David Milne took third place on count back with 45 points.
There was the usual support from Essex golfers
Selected scores: 43: Samuel Kinnane and Farley. 42: Paul Lankester and Jamie Moul. 40: Farrow and Graham Crimmins. 39: James and Andy Smith. 38: Chris Pearson and Dave Pepper, Roger Toone and Paul Wilby, Harrison and Kevin Earp, Bill Eke and Kevin Prince. 37: Chris Ginn and Rod Powney, Jerry Callow and Rusbridge. 32: Trevor Mason and Keith Newnham.
John Williams, the 2017 President of England Golf from Cambridgeshire, was among the players taking part,
The remaining dates for this season’s Felixstowe Four balls are December 4, January 8, February 5 and March 5 and 26.