Coulter and McEwan hold their nerve to make national progress
Before Tiger Woods had time to put on his fifth green jacket at Augusta, Barrie Dawson and his team were celebrating their win in the Burghley Masters on Sunday.
In what has become a very popular early season event at Burghley, this team competition takes place on Masters Sunday, with the winners being awarded green club jumpers (sponsored by club professional Mark Jackson) emblazoned 'Burghley Masters Champions 2019.'
Teams consist of four players, of any combination, with the best two scores to count on every hole, except for the ninth and 18th, where all four players scores count.
To add further spice, scores are doubled on the three tough holes making up Burghley’s Amen Corner – the 12th, 13th and 14th, and it is this stretch which can make or break a team’s score.
In cold but bright conditions, on a fast running course, 25 teams turned out for battle and at the end of the day it couldn’t have been closer with three teams all finishing with 108 points at the head of the field.
Amazingly, all three had the same score on the back nine holes and countback eventually went down to the scores on the final three holes to separate them.
After all the arithmetic was completed Barrie Dawson, Steve Dawson, Nigel Moore and Jon Tyrrell emerged winners and claimed their new wardrobe items, edging Richard James, Neil Nottingham, David Scott and Andrew Taylor into second place.
In third place were Steve Coultas, John Coulter, Jim McEwan and Jason Rudkin, also on 108. The best score by an all-ladies’ team was carded by Kay Hircock, Anne Fensom, Barbara Newell and Lynn Collen.
Burghley Park’s John Coulter and Jim McEwan welcomed a pair from Priors Hall in round two of the Daily Mail Foursomes national knockout event.
They realised they were in for a tough match when they discovered that one of their opponents was a two-handicapper - and so it was to prove.
Gritty play by the home pair saw them reach the halfway stage two up, at which point the Priors Hall pair staged a determined comeback, winning the next three holes to stand one up after 12.
The Burghley pair dug in, halving the next three holes, before taking full advantage when the visitors’ tee shot on 16 went into the trees and winning the hole to level the match.
They kept up the pressure on the next hole, which they won to stand one up on the last tee, and then held on to halve the hole and claim a narrow win.
Coulter said: "It was tough and we knew from the start that we couldn’t afford any slip-ups.
"I was pleased by the way we held our nerve when we lost three in a row on the back nine, and pulled it back at the end. We look forward to finding out who we play next.”
Seniors’ captain Phil Hunt and his Burghley Park side have had a busy time over the past week with three matches in five days.
Spirits are high in the side, with wins in two of the matches, and just a narrow defeat away at Spalding.
It all began with Toft travelling to Burghley on Thursday with the usual pattern of Burghley giving shots in most of the games being continued.
Burghley got off to a good start, winning the first two games courtesy of Phil Hunt and Gerry Clark (4&2) and Peter Symonds and Charles Cade (2&1), before Toft stemmed the tide, halving the next two games to leave Burghley 3-1 ahead halfway through the tie.
A 3&2 win for Richard Cook and Mike Wright put Burghley on the brink of victory, but defeat for Brian Plowright and Bill Glencross (3&2) gave the visitors hope, which was extinguished in match seven by ex-Toft member Mick Marriott and his partner George Clayton-Jones who ensured a Burghley win with their 4&3 victory.
A half in the last match made the final result 5.5-2.5 to Burghley.
Having just digested the after-match meal, Burghley were on the road the following day, heading into the Fens to take on Ramsey, always a tough proposition on their tricky track.
Again, Burghley were quick out of the blocks, establishing an early 3-0 lead as Phil Hunt and Glynn Woolf won 3&2, George Clayton-Jones and Pete Hickman won two up and Charles Cade and Maurice Egglestone won one up.
Glynn Woolf was having a blinder and captain Hunt could merely watch admiringly as his partner showed how the game should be played.
But Ramsey weren’t finished, having packed the middle of their team with quality, and Dave Rae and Chris Cheeseman were consigned to an early bath as they were overwhelmed 8&6.
It wasn’t much better in the next match as Mike McCarthy and Keith Duff found themselves under the cosh around the turn, as their Ramsey opponents played five holes in two under par gross to win 6&5.
Fortunately, the rest of the Burghley side was made of sterner stuff with Rob Sorrell and Dave Devlin ensuring Burghley couldn’t be beaten as they won their match one up before wins for Mike Wright and Bill Glencross (1 up) and Mick Marriott and Richard Cook (4&2) delivered Burghley an excellent 6-2 win on the road.
Another cold but fine morning greeted the Burghley team at Spalding on Monday with the chilling easterly wind making a number of the holes quite a challenge.
Spalding fielded two players with handicaps in the 30s to provide both a golfing and an arithmetic challenge to Burghley.
Nevertheless, the whole match was played in excellent spirit, and things looked good to begin with as captain Hunt was ably carried round by Javan Argent to secure a 3&2 win, followed by Maurice Egglestone and Richard Gilbert with a 3&1 win to put the visitors 2-0 ahead.
But losses for debutant Lee Bushby and Alan Kinch (3&2), Dave Devlin and Pete Hickman (3&2) and Dave Rae and Keith Duff (two down) put Spalding into the lead.
Brian Plowright and Rob Sorrell levelled the match for Burghley with a fine 3&1 win and a half in the penultimate match for George Clayton-Jones and Chris Harrison-Smith left everything hanging on the final match.
Hopes were high for Burghley with the strong pairing of Mick Marriott and Richard Cook, but they were comprehensively outplayed by their Spalding opponents and lost 5&4 to give the hosts a narrow 4.5-3.5 win in the overall match and see captain Hunt suffer his first loss of the season.
Burghley captains Mike and Michelle Powell presided over their first Mixed match of the season in the short trip up the A1 to Greetham Valley on Saturday.
On a cold and blustery afternoon, the Burghley side found the Valley course a tough proposition and Greetham made full use of local knowledge to establish an early lead as Mike Powell and Kay Hircock went down 2&1 and Michelle Powell and Paul Wilkinson lost 4&3.
Burghley’s hopes were raised when Keith Duff and Mary Sharp pulled off a narrow one up win courtesy of a birdie two on the 18th from Duff, but a one down defeat for Scott Downie and Carole Johnson put Greetham back in the driving seat.
Richard Gilbert and Janet Duff fought valiantly to come home with a half, but the result was sealed when David Shales and Lynda Lancaster were beaten 5&4 in the last match, to make the final score 4.5-1.5 to Greetham.
Burghley Park’s Ladies’ B team had their first match of the season in the Lincolnshire League with a trip to Kirton Holme.
On this tight nine hole course, local knowledge counts for a lot and several of the Burghley side had visited Kirton the previous week to get in some practice.
Lead pair Gail Hunt and Jane Saggers, up against Kirton’s best players (as this is their only team in the league), fought hard but couldn’t hold off the determined home pair, going down 3&1.
Anne Fensom and Chris Taylor fared better, getting a half in their match, before Judy Cade and Mel Griffiths levelled the tie with an impressive 4&2 win to leave everything hanging on the last match on the course.
Gill Bedford and Mary Sharp found themselves pitted against a strong pair who never allowed them to get into the match and eventually succumbed 4&2 to leave Kirton the winners by 2.5-1.5
C team captain Bill O’Driscoll picked a strong side for the visit of Rutland County to Burghley on Saturday and it was as well he did as the visitors turned up with a team where half were single figure handicappers.
Honours were even in the first match as O’Driscoll and Bob Pimlott secured a half, before the rest of his side turned in a turbo-charged performance which saw all the rest of the matches go Burghley’s way.
Alan Cole and Charles Cade put the home side ahead with a convincing 5&4 win which was extended by Mark Saggers and Mike Beaumont (3&1 winners), and then by Michael Earl and Charlie Gardiner who came in with a 4&3 win.
To complete the picture, Mark Hotchkin and Mark Norman delivered a two up victory and the match was finished by a Graham Bedford and Graham Rolfe 2&1 win to give Burghley the overall match 5.5-0.5.