Burghley Park ladies make solid start to new league campaign
It’s been a week to remember for Burghley Park’s rapidly improving junior Teddy Crooke with two wins in quick succession which have seen his handicap come down to 3.8.
The England Under 18 training squad player had his first success in the R&A Challenge competition, a novel event in which the nine best combined scores from across the UK go on to contest the international final at Royal Portrush immediately before the start of The Open Championship in July.
The event is played over nine holes and the best men’s and ladies’ scores are added together.
Crooke, playing off five, reeled off a string of pars before dropping a shot on the fifth, but immediately regained it with a par on six, before parring out for a level par gross round and a score of 20 points.
He was pushed hard by James Hargreaves (five) who finished just behind on 19 points, with Alan Kinch (14) a further point back on 18.
In the ladies’ event, recent recruit Sandy Bushby (11) is fast getting to grips with the Burghley track and showed a clean pair of heels with her winning 19 points, courtesy of five pars and four bogeys.
She and Crooke’s combined score of 39 points has been submitted to The R&A and they wait to see if it will be good enough to get them to the final in Northern Ireland.
Second place in the ladies’ event went to Victoria Thomas (27) who finished with 17 points (despite a blob on the sixth), with Jane Saggers (18) third on 16.
Crooke’s second success of the week was in the May Stableford on Sunday when he continued his dominance by finishing three points clear of the 80 strong field on 41 points.
Bogeying the first didn’t faze him at all as he settled into a routine of pars, broken only by birdies on the sixth, 10th, 15th and 18th, to come home in a one under par gross 69 for a score of 41 points which saw his handicap come down from 4.4 to 3.8.
This impressive performance also ensured he took the Division One prize, ahead of Joel Tadman (six) who put together two halves of 19 points each for a 38 point total.
Gary Steadman (10) took third with 37 points, leaping up the rankings with a back nine in which he carded 20 points.
The Crooke family’s memorable day continued in Division Two where Teddy’s Dad David (11) took top spot with 35 points, winning on countback from Simon Richards (13).
Richards had started strongly, reaching the turn with 20 points, but two blobs on the back nine ruined his chances of the divisional win with Crooke’s better back nine (19 points) ensuring he took the honours. Carl Taylor (12) was third with 34 points.
Division 3 was won by Alastair Brown (21) who put together halves of 19 and 18 points for a score of 37, which also saw him cut to 20.Jamie Crowson (16) was second on 35, beating Bob Cleveland (15) on countback.
Burghley Park Ladies have been busy in the Lincolnshire League this week, with the A Team welcoming Woodhall Spa and the C Team hosting Tydd St Giles.
The A Team knew they had a challenge in their first match of the season, the Woodhall Spa side being a good team with several single figure players who are either current or past county team players.
Burghley’s first pair out were Nicky Plumtree and Sandy Bushby, who piled on the pressure from the start and, with Nicky’s putter being red-hot, the pair ran out 6&5 winners to get the first point of the season on the board.
Kay Hircock and Michelle Powell were out next and went straight into the lead when Michelle sank an outrageously long putt on the first.
They kept their noses in front until the 13th when the Woodhall Spa moved into top gear and turned the match around, running out 2&1 winners on the 17th, to square the match at 1-1.
Sue Churchill and Helen Cox took their match all the way to the last, but lost two down to hand the initiative back to the visitors.
The final game was equally close with Carol Johnson and Pat Hudson finding themselves all square going down the last, before Pat sank a long curling putt on the tricky 18th to give Burghleya one up win and square the match result at 2-2.
Team captain Kay Hircock said that it was always going to be a tough match and was delighted that the Burghley side had risen to the challenge and shared the spoils.
The C Team played their second match of the season on Tuesday, with the visitors being Tydd St Giles.
First out in the glorious May sunshine were Lynda Lancaster and Janet Duff, who found themselves matched against a pair of very steady low handicappers.
The game was close throughout, but the Burghley pair lost on the 17th when one of the Tydd ladies chipped in for a par.
Isobel Reading and Wendy Hillson, out second, took advantage of the well-prepared greens and putted like demons winning 4&2 on the 16th.
Barbara Newell and Jayne Carney kept their nerve to run out 2&1 winners and a 3&2 win for the final pair of Jan Devlin and Bev Harpham ensured that Burghley took the match 3-1.
The last match finished with a flourish as Bev Harpham almost got a hole-in-one on the 16th.
More by this authorJames Bedford