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Pre-tournament favourite wins Rutland Water showpiece

Paul Tomson, Graeme McNaughton, Robbie Pengelly (2495800)
Paul Tomson, Graeme McNaughton, Robbie Pengelly (2495800)

Paul Tomson triumphed after a dramatic conclusion to the Club Championship at Rutland Water.

Tomson, a scratch handicapper, was the big pre-tournament favourite having won the event comfortably four times previously.

There were a number of other players, however, who had different ideas and wasted no time making their mark on the competition.

Playing off the blue tees, Lewis Spice posted 81 early on the Saturday and this was matched by Robbie Pengelly and Chris Newton. Mark Mackinley then bettered this by one shot for a gross score of 80.

It was all very tightly matched until Tomson went out and scored a fantastic round of 73 for what looked to be an unassailable lead going into Sunday.

His round included only one birdie but a number of solid pars on many of the tough holes.

Teeing off in the second to last group was Graeme McNaughton.

Now a senior and pushing 60 years of age, many thought his best days were behind him but how wrong could they be.

Playing off his five handicap, Graeme dropped a couple of shots early on but regained his composure to make a birdie on the 585-yard par five eighth hole to turn in 37 shots.

Another shot leaked on the tricky par three 12th hole but again McNaughton was not fazed.

Five pars were to follow before rounding off his round with a birdie three on the 18th hole for a total of 73 shots – identical to Paul.

The stage was set for a Sunday showdown between the youth of Paul and the wily experience of Graeme.

When Sunday morning arrived, it was clear nerves were getting the better of both players as Paul took an early advantage as Graeme dropped a shot at the first hole.

Paul then carelessly dropped a shot at the third hole so it all square once more.

It was nip and tuck up to the seventh when Graeme imploded and let two more shots slip and at the turn Paul had a one stroke advantage.

Lesser men may have crumbled but McNaughton’s resilience was immense and, with his temperament under complete control, he made a par on the next four holes to tie things up once again.

After Paul had made heavy contact just off the 15th green, the crowd felt that the club championship was swinging in the favour of Graeme.

Unfortunately for McNaughton, an agonising miss on the same hole from five feet and an impressive birdie from Paul on the next hole gave him the cushion he needed on the last two holes.

A bogey/par finish was enough for a round of 78 and a two shot victory over Graeme.

Special mention must go to Robbie Pengelly who posted the best score on the Sunday, with a 77, finishing third overall.

Results: 1 Paul Tomson 73-78=151, 2 Graeme McNaughton 73-80=153; 3 Robbie Pengelly 81-77=158, 4 Lewis Spice 81-85=166.

The Ladies Club Championship was held one week previous to the mens and was dominated by past captain Marion Clarke.

Marion, playing off her 16 handicap, posted a magnificent 87 gross to win by a comfortable eight shots from Sharon Baxter, back in second.

Marion also won the nett division with a score of 71 from Sharon on 74 and Tracy Makey back in third with 78.

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