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New challenge as Burghley duo make progress in Foursomes

Bob Collier, incoming club captain at Burghley Park, prepares for his formal drive-in.
Bob Collier, incoming club captain at Burghley Park, prepares for his formal drive-in.

Nicky Plumtree and Jane Saggers played their first round match in the national Daily Mail Foursomes competition on Wednesday, welcoming a pair from Luffenham Heath Golf Club to Burghley.

They had the privilege of being the first players to experience the re-developed 15th hole at Burghley, with the ponds having been replaced by a series of bunker complexes.

Course manager Paul Mills had arranged for the green to be opened temporarily for this event, and the players were delighted to have experienced this challenging ‘new’ hole.

The teams were blessed with some of the best weather of the year so far.

And the Burghley pair knew the match was going to be tough, even though they were receiving nine shots from the visitors.

Home advantage proved decisive, with Nicky and Jane reaching the turn four up, and then winning the 10th with a shot, before they wobbled a bit, losing the 11th and 13th to pars.

But they used their shot on the 14th to good effect, to reach the 15th tee four up with four to play.

However, a couple of loose shots on the 15th allowed the Luffenham Heath pair to pull one back, and the pressure was on again.

Missing the green on the short 16th increased the tension levels, but a fine chip by the Burghley pair gave them the half they needed to clinch the match 3&2.

“It was a good match,” said Jane.

“And we could tell that we could be in trouble if we didn’t keep our concentration levels up.

“ It was an honour to be the first people to play the new 15th hole and it’s clear that both this hole, and the re-developed sixth hole, are going to be interesting challenges once the season proper starts.

“I think Paul Mills and our course consultant Gordon Irvine have done a great job in delivering a couple of really interesting new holes.”

Burghley Park’s incoming captains Bob Collier and Lynda Lancaster formally took charge when they starred in the Captains’ Drive-In on Friday.

This traditional event is always an evening event, using flashing golf balls, and both club captain Bob and ladies’ captain Lynda excelled themselves with long and powerful hits down the first fairway into the darkness.

Both were relieved to have got this test out of the way, in front of the largest audience they are likely to have on a golf course, with more than 100 club members cheering them on.

Bob and Lynda then announced their charity for the year – The On-Course Foundation, which supports the recovery of injured service personnel and veterans through golf.

Club members expressed their strong support for the charity and another generous year of fundraising by the golf club is anticipated.

The Ladies’ Winter Eclectic competition, played over a maximum of 12 rounds, is now complete.

Fifty-three ladies took part, and the outcome was in doubt until the very end.

In the gross event Kay Hircock (15) came out on top with a three under par gross 70 which included six birdies, with Sue Churchill (16) running her close with her gross 71. Gail Hunt (19) and Michelle Powell (17) completed the podium places with gross 72s.

The net event was equally tight, with Jane Saggers (22) emerging as the winner with her net 59.2 which contained five birdies, only one of which was on a par three. Sue Adlam (32) claimed second spot on 60.0, a fraction in front of Gail Hunt (19) on 60.1.

The Men’s A Team hosted Peterborough Milton for the annual pre-season opening Directors Cup match on Saturday, with hopes high after clinching promotion back to the top flight of the South Lincolnshire League last year.

However, Milton turned out with a strong side, clearly determined to defend the cup they won last year, and it was clear from the outset that Burghley had a struggle on their hands.

Paul York and Jason Rudkin put up a good fight in match one, but couldn’t quite deliver the knockout punch and went down 2&1.

Burghley then turned up the heat with wins for Paul Ramm and Richard Allen (2 up) and Paul Evans and Mark Yarham (1 up) putting them ahead in the fixture, but that was as good as it was going to get.

Sanjay Nithiyilingam and Josh Yarham lost two down, Rob McGarr and Joel Tadman lost 5&4 and Richard Vaughan and Trevor Smith went down by the same score to leave Burghley on the wrong end of a 4-2 defeat.

“At least we blew away some of the cobwebs,” said club captain Bob Collier. “It was good preparation for the tough matches we’re expecting in the league this year.”

The line-up for the Mens’ Winter League is now finalised and Paul Wilkinson and Bob Emmins now know who they will be taking on following the completion of the second semi-final last week.

Graham Bedford and Dave Tilley took on David Jackson and Javan Argent and the money was on it being a tight match.

But no-one had mentioned this to Bedford who played a blinder, supported ably by partner Tilley, with Jackson and Argent being overrun by the unceasing pressure and going down 5&4. The final looks likely to be a tantalising prospect.


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