Matt Payton and Barrie Dawson put in a stunning performance at Burghley Park on Sunday, beating the course by 10 shots in the Jackson Trophy better ball bogey competition.
The Spring-like weather drew a field of 59 pairs for the first men’s event of the season and the scores were sensational – only seven of the teams failed to finish ahead of the course.
Payton (15) and Dawson’s (8) score of +10 was the highest score recorded in the event in living memory at Burghley and was achieved on one of those days when both players gelled well and sank all the key putts.
It helped that a couple of the holes were playing shorter than normal due to course redevelopment work, but nonetheless it was an outstanding performance.
Four teams carded scores of +8, which would almost certainly have won the event in previous years, and they at least have the consolation of knowing that they will make progress to the Cottingham Trophy matchplay event.
Peter Barnes (10) and Dave Gibson (15) claimed second spot on countback with Graham Bedford (16) & Brian Plowright (16) third on the same score.
The top 16 teams qualify for the Cottingham, but a score of +6 was needed to make it through and there were a few unlucky teams on that score who missed out.
Both the turn out and the scoring was impressive and everyone is looking forward to the opening of the full course shortly.
The work on holes six and 15 is now complete and everyone is going to have to work out the best way to cope with the challenges posed by the new greens complexes.
Saturday saw the conclusion of the Ladies’ Winter League competition at Burghley Park with both the final and the third and fourth place play-offs being played.
After a hard winter, all the players were delighted that the weather was warm and calm, with no wind, rain or snow for a change.
The final pitted Gail Hunt (19) and Jane Saggers (22) against recent recruits Sara Harris (31) and Jane Mantel (32), a repeat of the round-robin match earlier in the winter which had gone the way of Jane and Gail.
Sara and Jane Mantel got off to a good start by winning the first, but were pegged back over the next couple of holes, and Gail and Jane Saggers got their noses in front on the fourth, after Saggers had ditched the orange ball she had been playing up to then.
Having taken the lead they cranked up the pressure and had established a five-hole lead by the halfway point, increasing this to seven up by the 12th hole.
That was where the all the drama unfolded. Jane Mantel sank a terrific 30 foot downhill putt which seemed likely to start a comeback, but their hopes were dashed when Jane Saggers followed her in from distance to half the hole and give her and Gail the title by a score of 7&6.
“We all enjoyed the contest” said Gail. “The match was played in good spirits and humour, and I thought that Sara and Jane did really well in their first year at Burghley. They played eight matches to reach the final and only lost one of them.”
The play off to decide who finished third was between Nicky Plumtree (14) and Pippa Le Sage (27) and Kay Hircock (15) and Mary Sharp (21).
Nicky and Pippa got off to a good start, winning the first, before Mary levelled the scores with a par on the second.
She and Kay kept up the pressure round the front nine to reach the turn two up and, despite good play from Nicky and Pippa, Kay amd Mary continued to creep further ahead, securing the match on the 14th to win the match 5&4.
Sunday saw 12 pairs turn out for the Ladies’ Betterball Pairs Stableford with Gail Hunt continuing her winning run.
Paired with Anne Harrison-Smith, who did most of the damage (with successive four-pointers on the fifth and sixth holes), they finished two points clear of the field with an impressive 43 points.
It could have been even better as they ran into trouble on the 18th where they failed to score.
Anne Fensom and Carole Hollman claimed second place with 41 points, followed by Helen Cox and Karen Whittingham in third on 40.