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Bill holds off Tim’s comeback to claim historic Burghley Park victory

Bill O'Driscoll (left) and Tim Chapman, who contested the final of the 1895 knockout competition at Burghley Park.
Bill O'Driscoll (left) and Tim Chapman, who contested the final of the 1895 knockout competition at Burghley Park.

Club captain Bill O’Driscoll added his name to the illustrious honours board after winning the prestigious 1895 Cup at Burghley Park.

It is the club’s premier knockout competition for men and was played over 36 holes of matchplay.

The 1895 Cup is the club’s oldest trophy, having been presented by local businessman W W Lowe in 1895, and is the one that everyone wants to win.

Bill, playing off 12, had to give his opponent Tim Chapman six shots on each of the 18 hole rounds, a challenging scenario given how well Chapman has been playing.

O’Driscoll had the added pressure of knowing that, should he win, he would be the first serving club captain in modern times to win the event.

Things looked good for him early on, as he went off fast and built a four-hole lead by the 10th hole, but Chapman wasn’t about to give way, and fought back hard on the inward nine to find himself only two down after 18 holes, when the pair took a break for lunch.

O’Driscoll had gone round the first 18 holes in five under his handicap, and Chapman earned a lot of respect for his determination to hang on.

Back out on the course in the afternoon, the match followed a familiar pattern - O’Driscoll took charge on the front nine, adding three more wins to stand five up with nine holes to play.

Then things started to get interesting. Chapman took the 10th , 12th 13th and 14th holes to stand on the 15th tee only one down and captain Bill was looking vulnerable.

His nerves were settled a little by securing a half on 15 and, when he won the 16th to stand two up with two to play, he could have been forgiven for heaving a big sigh of relief.

But it wasn’t over yet as Chapman made good use of his shot on the 17 th to win the hole and keep the match alive, so the pair went down the last hole knowing the result could still go either way.

Chapman tried all he knew, needing to win the hole to take the match to sudden death extra holes, but could only match O’Driscoll’s six on the 18th for a half, meaning that O’Driscoll won the trophy by a score of just one up.

Both players agreed that it had been a great match, played in good spirit by two competitors who refused to give an inch.

Said Bill: “Both of us played pretty much to handicap and Tim just refused to give up. He had me worried with his comeback down the stretch, but I tried to stay relaxed and was very relieved to hole the key putt on the last hole.”


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