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Ladies claim Classic success after whitewash win

Burghley Park’s John Coulter and Jim McEwan made progress in the first round of the Daily Mail Foursomes knockout competition after travelling the short distance up the A1 to play against Rutland County.

Taking on a strong pair, they also had to contend with very challenging weather conditions, facing heavy rain and very strong winds.

Fortunately, the rain passed after the fourth hole, but the wind never let up, making the course play very long and also making putting difficult.

Despite the adverse conditions, Coulter and McEwan got their heads down and played solid golf to reach the turn three up.

But they began to struggle on the back nine as the home pair staged a spirited comeback and got it back to just one down by the 13th.

The Burghley pair stopped the rot by taking the 14th to go two up and managed to hang on from that point, halving the remaining holes to take the match 2&1.

This was no mean feat as McEwan was playing his first game for three months, having been recuperating from knee surgery, and Coulter noted that this was the strongest wind he’d ever played in.

Fifty-seven players turn out for a nine-hole Seniors AM-AM competition at Burghley Park on Monday in very blustery conditions.

Despite the wind, scoring didn’t seem to be a problem for many teams with the winners going over the 40-point mark.

Best on the day was the team of Tony Chick (26), Vince Kelly (15) and Margaret Wright (27), whose 41 points gave them the win, two ahead of Anne Harrison-Smith (27), Chris Harrison-Smith (27) and Sara Harris (26) on 39.

Third place went to Helen Pollard (21), Chris Clarke (27) and Chris Quinn (13) on 38.

Seniors captain Phil Hunt was delighted to announce that £151 had been raised on the day for his charity Diabetes UK.

Burghley Park’s Ladies team, who beat Luffenham Heath in round one of the UK Golf Club Classic. They are Carol Johnson, Sandy Bushby, Gail Hunt, Kay Hircock and Michelle Powell. (8096205)
Burghley Park’s Ladies team, who beat Luffenham Heath in round one of the UK Golf Club Classic. They are Carol Johnson, Sandy Bushby, Gail Hunt, Kay Hircock and Michelle Powell. (8096205)

Burghley Park’s Ladies have entered two teams in the UK Golf Club Classic, sponsored by Annodata Ltd, and welcomed their first round opponents Luffenham Heath.

Played as a singles matchplay knockout event, the team found the course in great condition, with the main ladies tees being opened for the first time this year, making quite a difference to the course the ladies have been playing for the past few months.

Burghley were led off by Sandy Bushby, a new member making her match debut for Burghley.

The pressure was on from the start as she was taking on an ex-Leicestershire county player with a handicap of four.

Sandy held her nerve over the front nine trading holes with her opponent but reaching the turn three up before a comeback from the Luffenham player got her back to all square on the 16th tee.

However, Sandy stayed calm and took the next two holes to win the match 2&1 and put Burghley’s first point on the board.

Kay Hircock was next out and won the first four holes before adding another two to reach the turn six up.

At that point her opponent turned up the gas, winning the next three holes, before Kay stemmed the tide and secured Burghley’s second point with a 3&2 win.

Carol Johnson found herself in a real scrap, in a match where neither player could establish a significant lead, with the match standing all square on the 16th tee.

Solid play by Carol won her the 16th and, when she repeated this on the 17th, it was all over as she took the match 2&1, ensuring that Burghley would progress to the next round.

Playing at four, Gail Hunt was facing an ex-Burghley member who knew the course as well as she did, but was on top form and never let her opponent into the match, taking the game 6&4 on the 14th.

Ladies captain Michelle Powell was out last, carrying the pressure of knowing that if the overall match was tied she and her opponent would have to play a sudden death play-off.

Michelle, unaware of the outcome of the matches ahead of her, handled the pressure well, building a four-hole lead by the halfway point and not losing her composure as her opponent staged a determined comeback to stand all square on the 17th tee.

A win for Michelle on the 17th put her back in the driving seat and she also won the last to take the match two up and secure a 5-0 whitewash for Burghley.

Team Captain Carol Johnson was in ebullient mood after the match.

She said: "What a great performance from everyone and I was delighted by the way that debutant Sandy Bushby settled into team golf at Burghley so quickly.

"We’re excited to see who we get drawn against in the next round and wish Nicky Plumtree and the other Burghley team well for their tough match away at Toft next weekend.”

Burghley Park’s ladies social team travelled to Spalding on Friday for their first match of the season, hoping to get off to a winning start.

Leading the side off was ladies captain Michelle Powell and her partner Barbara Newell with Michelle having to give 10 shots to their Spalding opponents.

Despite spirited resistance from the Burghley pair, home advantage proved too much and Spalding took the game 3&2 to take an early lead.

Gill Bedford and Pauline Crampin, playing second, made the most of a good start, establishing an early lead that they never relinquished and running out 4&3 winners to level the match.

The pendulum swung back towards Spalding in match three as Isobel Reading and Helen Pollard (again giving 10 shots to one of their opponents) fought hard but went down to a 5&3 defeat to leave Burghley needing to win the last game if they were to salvage anything from the match.

Yet again, Burghley found themselves giving 10 shots to one of their opponents, but Jayne Carney and Jan Devlin kept the match alive until the 17th hole which they needed to win.

Unfortunately this proved a step too far and they went down 2&1 to give the overall match to Spalding by a score of 3-1.

Fourteen pairs turned out for the first ladies competition of the year, a four-ball better ball pairs event played off 90 per cent handicap.

The strong breeze added to the challenge of the fast greens and only one pair beat par with Jane Taylor and Marilyn Webley coming home with a winning 38 points.

They played steadily throughout their round, reaching the turn with 20 points and adding another 18 on the back nine, despite failing to score on the 17th.

Countback was needed to separate the second and third place finishers who both came in with 36 points.

Barbara Newell and Jane Saggers' 21 points on the back nine was good enough to push Lynn Collen and Michelle Powell into third spot.

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