Nottingham nets trophy triumph at Burghley Park
The final of Burghley Park’s Winter League competition on Saturday pitted 2012 winners David Jackson and Javan Argent against Stuart Blessett and Darren Fellowes and proved to be as compelling a struggle as many had anticipated.
Both pairs had dominated the league stages of the event and fought their way through the knock-out rounds without too many alarms.
The warm weather encouraged good golf and had also ensured that the course was in excellent condition.
Jackson and Argent made a strong start, taking the first courtesy of an Argent par to go one up.
The second was halved in par before Jackson’s birdie on the third was followed by his par on the fourth which took him and his partner into a three-up lead.
The next five holes were halved, showing how it was that these teams had made their way to the final, before a Jackson par on 10 extended their lead to a healthy-looking four up.
But Blessett and Fellowes weren’t about to give up and got one back immediately when Blessett parred the 11th.
Jackson’s par on 12 restored their four-hole lead, but not for long as Blessett won the 13th to narrow the gap once more.
Jackson and Argent dug in, and halves on the 14th and 15th meant that they stood dormie three up on the 16th tee.
Yet again, the challengers fought back with Blessett’s birdie on 16 getting the score back to dormie two up.
Things looked ominous for Blessett and Fellowes as both hit their drives into the trees and had to chip back onto the fairway.
However, Blessett then hit the shot of the day, his approach to the green from 140 yards out rolling onto the green and heading straight for the cup, before lipping out and coming to a halt just a couple of inches from the hole.
With two putts to halve the hole and win the match, Argent left his approach putt about a yard short of the hole, leaving him a knee-trembler for the match.
With his partner offering soothing words of encouragement, Argent sank the putt to give the pair their second win in the event with a 2&1 victory.
Argent said: “Fair play to Stuart and Darren. The match was played in a really good spirit and they fought really hard, so we could never relax at any point in the match.
“After losing our first two matches in the league phase we knew we had to win all the rest to have any chance of getting through to the knockout stages and somehow we got our games together to do just that.”
Sixty-nine players turned out on Sunday to contest the PJ Trophy, donated in 1937 by PJ Scarlatto, past chairman and captain of the club.
The windy conditions made scoring challenging with no-one able to break net par in the Stableford scoring event.
Neil Nottingham (six) was the only player to match par, playing steadily throughout to come home with a winning 36 points despite failing to score on the seventh.
Birdies on the third and 11th helped steady the ship and he came home one point ahead of the rest of the field, getting cut to five in the process.
His 36 points ensured that he also took the Division One prize, just ahead of three more players on 35.
Kev Lawrence (12) emerged at the head of the chasing pack, his 18 points on the back nine (despite a double bogey six on the 17th) securing him second spot.
Jon Tyrrell (11) claimed third spot, rueing his blob on the 11th and a double bogey on the 15th.
But it was probably Carl Taylor (12) who was most disappointed, as he reached the turn with 21 on his card, but was unable to maintain momentum, failing to score on the 14th and 16th and coming home with just 14 points for a total of 35 points in fourth place.
Division Two was almost as close with victory going to Jim McEwan (17) whose 35 points after a strong start (19 points at the turn) finished a single point ahead of James Wright (15) on 35 with Stuart Busby (19) a further point back on 33. Five more competitors also finished with 33 points.
The Ladies’ PJ Trophy Stableford was held simultaneously with the men’s event on Sunday with 20 competitors deciding that golf came before Mothering Sunday celebrations!
Sue Churchill (15) and Anne Fensom (19) had a ding-dong battle, both coming home at the head of the field with 35 points with victory going to Churchill by virtue of her 19-point back nine.
This was despite failing to score on the 16th, but a string of three-point pars on the back nine made up for it.
Anne Fensom scored her 19 points on the front nine, so was always likely to be on the back foot if countback came into operation, although a par on the hardest hole on the course did give her a valuable four-pointer.
Judy Cade (19) put together two steady halves of 17 points each, to claim third place with 34 points.
Burghley Park’s Ladies secnd team travelled to Toft on Saturday in the Annodata Trophy national knockout event, knowing they had a challenging task in hand against a side which has twice won the county league title in recent years.
On a track where local knowledge is a real advantage, Burghley gave a good account of themselves with Elaine Brown getting things off to a good start with a 3&2 win before Toft turned on the power to take the next three games and secure their place in the next round.
Nicky Plumtree, Jane Saggers and Anne Fensom all gave good accounts of themselves, but were unable to find a way past determined opponents.
Sue Churchill, out last, managed to secure a half in her match against eight-handicapper Cathy Lee to leave the final score at 33.5-1.5 to Toft.