In spite of dreary and unpleasant conditions on Sunday, a full field of 117 players turned out to contest Burghley Park’s annual Christmas competition.
Always popular, this year-ending event is always over-subscribed as a result of the extensive prize list, with the result that the last players out always have to switch on their night vision goggles in the gathering gloom of the late afternoon.
After a day of heavy rain on Saturday the course was very wet underfoot, with very little run on the ball, but nonetheless 18 players came in with under-par scores, and nine broke 40 points. The steady drizzle all day at least meant that everyone had to cope with similar conditions. There was a view amongst the competitors that, despite the rain, they had been more fortunate than the Ladies, whose event the previous day had to be cancelled as the course was closed because of the wet conditions.
In Division One, countback was needed to determine the winner, with both Alec Sherwin and Kev Lawrence coming in with 43 points. Lawrence, playing off 13, was steady all day, carding three birdies on the front nine for 22 points and following this with 21 on the back nine. But he was edged out by a stunning back nine from Sherwin, also off 13, who went round the back nine in level par gross (and 25 points) to grab the win. Not a bad outcome, as Sherwin had started with double bogies at holes one and two, before settling into his rhythm. Steve Coultas took third spot with 41 points. The other prize winners in the division were Adrian Boyden (39), Jim Scutt (38), John Tilley (38), Kit Alexander (38), Alan Kinch (37), John Neal (37), Paul Dove (37), Jason Clarke (36) and Greg Shelton (36).
Division Two was more clear-cut, with Arthur Brearley coming in alone at the head of the field with an impressive 43 points off his 14 handicap.
He played steadily all day, carding 22 points on the front nine and 21 on the back nine, with birdies on two of the par three holes helping.
Jordan Mayman was lying amongst a big chasing pack at the turn, but found his form on the way home, shooting two over par gross for 23 points to climb into second place with 42 points.
Mike Powell was the only other player to break 40 points in this division, coming in with 41 points for third spot courtesy of consistent play which gave him 20 points out and 21 back. The other prize winners were Carl Taylor (39), Mark Norman (36), Cathal McHugh (36), Terry Arnold (36), Robin King (35), Charlie Gardiner (35), Graham Bedford (35), Bill Sewell (35) and Bill O’Driscoll (35).