Tilley and Payton hold nerve on final hole to help reclaim Chairman's Cup
Burghley Park’s incoming captains Mike and Michelle Powell formally took charge when they starred in the Captains’ Drive-In.
They also have the distinction of being only the third husband and wife team to be captains at the same time in the club’s 129-year history, the last time being back in 1987.
The Captains’ Drive-In is always an evening event, using flashing golf balls, and both Mike and Michelle excelled themselves with powerful hits down the first fairway into the darkness.
Family bragging rights were claimed by Michelle, who split the fairway and finished some 30 yards ahead of husband Mike, who claimed to be holding back!
Both were relieved to have got this test out of the way, in front of the largest audience they are likely to have on a golf course, with more than 150 club members cheering them on.
Mike and Michelle then announced their charities for the year – Lincolnshire Air Ambulance and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Club members expressed their strong support for the charity and another generous year of fundraising by the golf club is anticipated.
The formal business of the evening was concluded with outgoing captains Bob Collier and Lynda Lancaster presenting a cheque for £6298 to Brendan Murray from the On Course Foundation charity, which had been their charity for 2018.
The evening was completed with a golf-focused quiz put together by Carol Johnson and Jane Saggers, which tested the breadth of knowledge of the Burghley members, especially on the subtleties of the revised rules of golf.
Victory went to the Young Ones, comprising Neil Harden, Mark Musgrove, Mark Norman and Jim Scutt, with Harden having a memorable night – he also won the monthly draw, and the raffle.
They were followed closely by Norfolk and Good, made up of Glenn and Jayne Carney, Mark Saggers, Jackie Wurr, Sara Harris and Wendy Hillson who finished just a couple of points behind.
Saturday saw Burghley Park’s first inter-club matches of the year, the annual showdown with Peterborough Milton’s scratch teams.
The B team, led by Jim Scutt, welcomed Milton’s side to Burghley with hopes high of reclaiming the trophy.
As expected, Milton arrived with their usual very strong side and the strong and gusty winds made the home side’s challenge even greater.
Burghley were led off by club vice-Captain Richard James and Kit Alexander and, after getting their noses in front early, they never let up, delivering a comfortable 4&3 win to get the first point on the board.
Next out were big-hitting Jon Young and the ever-steady Dave Tilley and this proved to be a nail-biter.
Young’s big hitting kept Burghley in the game, with never more than a hole in it, but the Burghley pair reached the last tee one up and held their nerve to halve the hole and win the match one up, consolidating Burghley’s excellent start.
Team captain Jim Scutt was third out, with rookie Neil Harden, who was still on a high from his winnings the previous evening.
Captain Scutt made a strong start, winning the second and birdying the third to put his side two holes up, and the Burghley pair put up stern resistance over the next few holes to reach the turn one up.
A Scutt birdie on 11 extended Burghley’s lead to two before Milton showed their class to take the next two holes to level the match after 14.
Scutt upped the pace, winning 15 and 16, to restore the two-hole lead and ensure that they would get at least a half out of the match, but once again Milton came back, taking 17 to stand just one down on the last tee.
After a quiet initiation to B team golf, rookie Harden showed why he’d been selected, parring the last to halve the hole and give Burghley a one up win for a 3-0 lead with three matches to finish.
Richard Keal and Stewart Ward were out at four and found themselves facing one of Milton’s strongest pairs.
They acquitted themselves well with the lead changing hands several times before the visitors snatched the 18th hole to come in one up winners, cutting Burghley’s lead to 3-1.
Next up were Ryan Birtles and Andy Vaughan, also up against a strong pair, and although the home pair hung on for most of the front nine, Milton slowly increased the pressure into the back nine, taking the match 3&2 on the 16th to leave everything hanging on the last game.
John Tilley and another rookie, Matt Payton, played solidly throughout the round, but found themselves standing on the last tee one down with most of the players from both sides having come out to see how the game unfolded.
Tilley and Payton are obviously made for this kind of pressure, holing a vital putt to win the hole and halve the match, thus ensuring that Burghley reclaimed the Chairman’s Cup with a narrow 3.5-2.5 victory.
Captain Scutt said: “I was really pleased with the way the whole team performed, especially the players making their B team debut.
“We always knew this was going to be a tough match and it’s great to get our season off to a winning start. We’re now looking forward to another good year in the South Lincolnshire League.”
Sunday saw a full field of 117 players turn out for the first trophy competition of the year at Burghley Park, the Mulligan Trophy played in memory of long-standing club secretary and Stamford personality Howard Mulligan.
It’s an unusual event, in that competitors have the opportunity to purchase three “mulligans” if they wish, allowing themselves to retake a bad shot without penalty. Not surprisingly, it’s always a popular option.
Played as a Stableford and open to both ladies and men, scoring is usually high and this year proved no exception, despite the later starters having to contend with heavy showers of hail, which made putting challenging to say the least.
Given the date, the event also had a St Patrick’s Day theme, showcased particularly by club captain Mike Powell and the bar and catering staff.
Elaine Brown, playing off 24, had a stunner of a round, coming home with a magnificent 46 points, having reached the turn in just five over gross for 25 points and adding another 21 on the return half to complete her round 10 shots below her handicap.
Female dominance was underlined by Sara Harris (26), who claimed second place with 43 points, with 23 points on the back nine added to her outward 20.
Jim Clarke (14) took third spot with 42 points, edging out Dave Tilley (9) on countback, with Alex McGowan (17) fifth on 41. In total, nine players carded 40 points or more with another 20 scoring 36 or more.