Hat-trick haul for ladies champion Plumtree
Joe Lippett showed he was right back to form at the weekend when he won the 36-hole Club Championship at Burghley Park for the fourth time.
He shot an aggregate total of 141 gross to finish 11 shots clear of his nearest challenger, last year’s champion Sanjay Nithiyilingam.
In the worst weather conditions for the championship in years, with 4 mph winds on Saturday and a combination of rain and high winds on Sunday, one-handicapper Lippett gave a masterclass in patience and course management, shooting a two under par 68 on the Saturday and a three over gross 73 on Sunday.
In the men’s event, 90 players toed the start line on Saturday for the 36 hole competition played over two days, which was sponsored for the third year by local property agency Nest Estates, represented by Director Matt Payton and his partner Jane.
At the end of round one, Lippett led the field with his impressive two under par gross 68, birdying the fitst and the ninth and parring all the other holes.
This saw him five clear of the chasing pack, led by Nithiyilingam (2) on 73, with Jorge Tinoco (8), Rob Baker (9) and Lewin Auciello (5) a further shot back on 74.
Lippett, Nithiyilingam and Tinoco went out last in round two and Lippett quickly piled on the pressure with birdies on three and five to reach the turn in one under.
His pursuers were unable to match this sprint start and slipped back to give Lippett a clear run to the finish line.
Nithiyilingam was unable to match his scoring on the previous day, carding a gross 79 for a total of 152, which was just enough to secure him second place.
Tinoco matched his gross 79 but a missed putt on the last green (admittedly a tricky one across the slope) cost him dear as he finished a shot behind Sanjay on 153.
Even worse, he was pipped for the third podium place by fast-finishing Doug Watterson (5) who started the day in 13th place after a first round 78 and was playing steadily before eagling the par five eighth hole which kick-started his charge to the line.
He shot the second best gross score of the day (75) to come in with a 153 total and edge out Tinoco on countback.
Three players finished a further shot behind on 154 – Nick Glover (0), Lewin Auciello (5) and Rob Baker (9).
In the net event, Keith Duff (13) and Rob Baker (9) led the field after round one with their impressive net 65’s, ahead of Jorge Tinoco (8) on 66, Joe Lippett (1) on 67, and Geoff McDonald (11) on 68.
After his heady performance on day one, Duff couldn’t repeat his efforts and his net 77 saw him slip to seventh place overall on 142.
But Baker was made of tougher stuff, adding a net 71 to his first round 65 to finish with an aggregate 136 which gave him the net title.
He didn’t have things all his own way though, as Tinoco also carded a net 71 to finish just a shot behind on 137 and take second spot.
McDonald also showed his character, staying cool to add a 71 to his first round 68 and take third place on 139, pipping Lippett (who added a net 72 to his first round 67) on countback.
The best net rounds of the day (70) were recorded by Carl Taylor (12), Russell Compton (9), Doug Watterson 95) and Dave Tilley (9).
Baker saw his handicap cut from nine to eight for his efforts with Duff coming down two to 11, and single shot reductions for Tinoco (to 7), Brian Churchill (to 15) and Tilley (to 8).
The Ladies Club Championship was equally hard fought.
At the end of the first round, only six shots separated the top six players in the Gross score event for the title of Club Champion.
Anne Fensom (20) was clear at the top, with a two shot cushion over Michelle Powell (16) and Nicky Plumtree (12), with Kay Hircock (14) on 82, Lynda Lancaster (21) on 94, and Sue Churchill (16) on 95.
Day two saw the top contenders go out together at the end of the field, with Plumtree seeking her third title in a row.
Powell had edged into a narrow lead by the turn, which she reached in 44, a shot ahead of Plumtree, with Fensom’s 49 dropping her out of the lead.
Plumtree kept up her steady play through the back nine, adding another 45 for a gross 90 and an aggregate score of 181.
Powell couldn’t quite match this, dropping a couple of shots to Plumtree on the way home to finish with a 91 for a 182 total, just one behind.
Fensom hung on to third spot, coming in with a gross 101 for a total of 190.
Kay Hircock added a 99 to her first round 92 to claim fourth place, with Gail Hunt climbing from eighth to fifth place as she added a 95 to her first round 98 for a total 193.
The Net event was also closely contested.
Round two saw Anne Fensom (20) take a single shot lead with an impressive net 69, which resulted in a handicap cut to 19, ahead of Jackie Wurr (34) on 70 (cut to 32).
Round two saw big changes at the top, as Anne Fensom slipped out of contention with a net 81, leaving the door open for the chasing pack to claim glory.
Sara Harris (30) took full advantage of the opportunity, coming in with the best score of the day (net 71) to leap from sixth place into the lead, with her total of 148 turning out to be unassailable.
But she was chased hard by three other Ladies, Janet Roberts (30) climbing from fifth to second with a net 73 for a 149 total.
Michelle Powell (16) carded a second 75 for a 150 total in third place, ahead of Fensome, who hung on to take fourth spot on the same score. Sara Harris was cut to 28, Janet Roberts to 29 and Gail Hunt to 18.