Runaway victory for Meredith

ADRIAN Meredith, the 30-year-old Hintlesham Stenson Shield and Hambro Cup player, had a runaway victory in the Suffolk Open Championship at Stowmarket on Sunday.

By Tony Garnett

ADRIAN Meredith, the 30-year-old Hintlesham Stenson Shield and Hambro Cup player, had a runaway victory in the Suffolk Open Championship at Stowmarket on Sunday.

His opening two rounds of 66 and 67 put him three shots ahead of 15-year-old Rhodri Harston of Felixstowe Ferry going into the third and final round.

Meredith showed no sign of nerves as he birdied the opening par-five and went on to set a new course record of 64 to take the title with some comfort.

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He could even afford to drop his only shot of the round at the par-three 18th hole, watched by a large crowd on the clubhouse balcony.

Meredith won the Faraday Cup as well as the Chris Easterbrook Trophy for being the leading amateur in the tournament. It was a well deserved success.

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Meredith said: “I was a junior member at Stowmarket between the ages of 13 and 20 before I joined Hintlesham. I drove the ball well and was finding the greens in regulation. I was disappointed about the bogey at the last but I shouldn't be too greedy.”

A scratch player, Meredith never looked like letting his lead slip on a day he will never forget. He was 10-under par for the tournament and seven ahead of his closest rivals.

Tom Stephenson of Bury St Edmunds was runner-up on count- back from Will Wright of Rushmere. Stephenson's final round of 65 equalled the existing course record held by Paul Buckle. This had already been equalled in the second round by Stowmarket junior Sam Forgan.

Stephenson, who has had a relatively quiet season after being runner-up in the Suffolk matchplay last year, displayed great powers of concentration and an appetite for success. He gave the county selectors a reminder that he is back in top form.

Wright had three solid rounds of 69, 68 and 67 and, like virtually every player, left several putts tantalisingly short on very slow greens. Putts had to be struck firmly.

Forgan's 65 delighted club members and was a reward for splendid approach play with his irons. Playing partners Jon Markham and Nigel Fosker were impressed. Forgan was unable to repeat quite the same magic in his final round although 72 left him in eighth place.

Harston, last year's Welsh under-15 champion who played for his country in the boys' home internationals earlier this month, was overnight leader. He fired the second shot of his final round through a mature lime tree with the ball ending in the rough He did well to salvage a par but, although he shows enormous potential, occasional wayward shots still tend to let him down.

He was usually longer off the tee than Meredith and seasoned professional Andy Cotton and will, almost certainly, be a Suffolk Open champion in the not-too-distant future.

Alex Lucas of Waldringfield was top Suffolk professional with solid rounds of 66 and 68 to follow a frustrating 71 on the opening day.

Jamie Abbott of Fynn Valley, a member of the English Golf Union A squad, is still looking for some silverware this season. Seventh place will have disappointed the 2005 winner.

Also on one over par 208 was Stoke by Nayland professional Andrew Tokley who had opportunities on the greens to have been lower.

Only four players were under par for the tournament with Harston ending level. Even so there were 21 rounds under par over the two days.

Those players five over par or better on the first day made the cut. There were several notable early casualties such as Stowmarket stalwart Paul Buckle, Daniel Griggs of Royal Worlington and professionals Kevin Earp and Robert Pritchard.

Tim Johnson, the Woodbridge professional, arrived in the nick of time for his start time after being hit in the small of the back by a golf ball when teaching juniors at his club on Saturday morning. The next lesson will, no doubt, be to teach them how to avoid shanking.

Final scores at Stowmarket

197: A Meredith (Hintlesham) 66 67 64.

204: T Stephenson (Bury St Edmunds) 67 72 65, W Wright (Rushmere) 69 68 67.

205: A Lucas (Waldringfield) 71 66 68.

207: R Harston (Felixstowe Ferry) 66 70 71.

208: J Abbott (Fynn Valley) 69 69 70, A Tokley (Stoke by Nayland) 68 71 69.

209: S Forgan (Stowmarket) 72 65 72.

210: C Smith (Fynn Valley) 73 67 70, S Dainty (Fynn Valley) 71 69 70, L Brace (Stoke by Nayland) 68 73 69, P Wilby (Fynn Valley) 69 70 71

211: D Fairweather (Bury St Edmunds) 70 68 73, A Cotton (Ufford Park) 67 72 72.

212: A Collett (Bury St Edmunds) 71 69 72, S Debenham (Southwold) 70 73 69.

213: N Overton (Stowmarket) 73 70 70, K Vince (Rushmere) 71 72 70, P Spraggs (Stowmarket) 71 72 70, T Cooper (Newton Green) 70 70 73, B Wilkins (Fynn Valley) 67 73 73.

214: C Bye (Woodbridge) 74 72 68, P Dobson (Fynn Valley) 72 75 67, S Harrison (Thorpeness) 71 73 70, A Holmes (Gorleston) 70 75 69. O Pearl (Stoke by Nayland) 69 71 74.

215: A Robinson (Felixstowe Ferry) 74 74 67, R Hitchcock (Stoke by Nayland) 73 70 72, P Barnard (Ipswich) 71 73 71.

216: D Burl (Stowmarket) 74 71 71.

218: N Fosker (Felixstowe Ferry) 72 75 71.

219: H Dobson (Fynn Valley) 74 76 69, A Stanley (Aldeburgh) 74 73 72, J Jameson (Stowmarket) 70 77 72, K Eagle (Rushmere) 68 77 74.

221: G Wardley (Ipswich) 73 72 76, J Markham (Stowmarket) 73 73 75.

222: T Everett (Stoke by Nayland) 74 75 73.

225: C Monk (Rookery Park) 74 75 76, D Drummond (Stowmarket) 71 73 81.

226: J Jowers (Ipswich) 74 76 76.

233: A Smith (Stoke by Nayland) 73 80 80.

234: C Jarrett (Stoke by Nayland) 74 80 80.

No return: J Peasey (Woodbridge) 71 nr nr.

Missed cut

75: P Buckle (Stowmarket), T Wright (Rushmere), T Dobson (Stonham Barns), A Hasell (Gorleston), A Gillan (Ipswich), G Griffiths (Diss), K Woods (Gorleston), M Elsworthy (Rookery Park), W Goddard (Fynn Valley), D Griggs (Royal Worlington).

76: K Earp (Bury Golf Range), E Terre (Stowmarket), W McQueeney (Bury St Edmunds).

77: S Masterson (Rushmere), J Maskall (Bourne Hill Driving Range), R Pritchard (Stonham Barns), T Pakenham (The Suffolk), I Scott (Bungay), R Davies (Halesworth), C Wright (Bury St Edmunds), A Whittaker (Woodbridge), A Cameron (Bungay).

78: P Rains (Bury Golf Range), C Underwood (Stowmarket), C Marks (Stowmarket), M Alderton (Flempton), T Bailey (Diss), B Forgan (Stowmarket), A Woodhead (Newton Green).

79: P Bate (Brett Vale), C Gooding (Ipswich), P Westley (Hintlesham), M Stockdale (Felixstowe Ferry), W Shaw (Aldeburgh), M Jackson (Brett Vale).

80: C Soanes (Rookery Park).

81: R Thompson (Gorleston).

82: S Green (Felixstowe Ferry), R Long (Bungay), O Rush (Newton Green).

No return: T Johnson (Woodbridge).

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