Innovative format is well received by Burghley golfers

The winning team in Burghley Park's New Years Day Mexican Scramble, from the left, Peter Barnes, Steve Dawson, Barrie Dawson and Nigel Moore, surrounding club captain Bill O'Driscoll.
The winning team in Burghley Park's New Years Day Mexican Scramble, from the left, Peter Barnes, Steve Dawson, Barrie Dawson and Nigel Moore, surrounding club captain Bill O'Driscoll.
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2018 at Burghley Park began with the traditional New Year’s Day Scramble, this year in the unusual Mexican Scramble format.

The full field of 19 teams of four found themselves having to use their brains in the 9am shotgun start event as no-one was allowed to hit two shots in a row, which gave everyone something new to think about.

The other innovation was that no team could contain more than two single figure handicappers, leading to some careful selection of teams.

Thankfully, the weather was kind following the recent rains, with the greens running fast and true, and scoring was impressive.

Victory went to the team comprising father and son pair Steve Dawson (6) and Barrie Dawson (8), accompanied by Peter Barnes (10) and Nigel Moore (15), who played well all day to come in with an eight under par gross 62 (the lowest gross of the day) which became an impressive net 58.1 once their 3.9 handicap allowance had been deducted.

Starting on the 14th , they burst into life on the front nine, which they completed in an amazing six under par 29.

Another two birdies on the back nine, and no dropped shots anywhere, saw them finish a shot clear at the head of the field.

“Everything worked for us, especially on the front nine” said Barrie Dawson. “We all played steadily and the putts dropped, so well done to the greens staff for presenting the course in such good condition.”

In second place, ladies’ vice-captain Lynda Lancaster (22) had done some canny team selection, bringing together John Tilley (7), Javan Argent (11) and Alan Cole (14), and the side carded five birdies, an eagle and ten pars to finish in second place with a gross 65, converting to a net 59.2 once their 5.8 handicap allowance was applied.

Third spot was claimed by Joe Lippett (1), Anthony Barnes (6), Rob Baker (10) and Matt Shirley (15) with a net 59.8 off their handicap of 3.2.

The prize list was completed by William Walker (8), Steve Coultas (9), Camilla Tait (11) and Iain Robb (16) with a net 60.2 off 4.8.

Club captain Bill O’Driscoll was delighted to see the clubhouse so full and spoke for all when he thanked incoming competitions organiser Robb Tapp for coming up with an innovative format for the event, which had been well received by the players.

Club professionals Mark Jackson, Sam Beckett and Drew Farrell organised the traditional Pro Shop Christmas Cracker competitions on the weekend before Christmas, attracting nearly 100 players over two days with their offerings of festive food and drinks.

Despite the cold conditions, which were positively arctic on Christmas Eve, scoring was very good and competition intense.

Fifty-seven turned out on Saturday, with the top five all going through the 40 point barrier, headed by Trevor Robson (17) whose 44 points gave him victory by two shots.

Tony Grant (17) took second spot on 42, ahead of Steve Barnett (14) on 42, Aaron Angus (15) on 41 and Peter Andrew (16) on 41.

Christmas Eve drew a smaller field of 37 and Charlie Gardiner (17) took the honours with his 43 points, ahead of Matt Pettit (7) with 41, David Brailsford (15) with 39 and Alan Cole (14) with 39. Janet Duff (22) took the ladies’ prize with her 38 points.