Oh it’s a lovely day today… Since Wednesday we have been blessed with the hottest start to May since Medieval times, with temperatures nearing 28°. The rains and storms of the start of the Year were forgotten driving up Travellers Lane and pulling into the Car Park. Anticipation was further raised while signing in to be greeted with a smile from the Pro who gleefully tells you “No excuses today”, a statement that would haunt golfers later. The standard no strategy practice on the putting green hinted at things to come, it was better to practice chipping than putting.
The White tees are out and summer positions used, fairways cut and baking sun, with run aplenty surely returning. Standing on the 1st a gentle push down the fairway looked all that was required, until the ball landed and stopped. The second shot into a back right pin caught most short with dead bounces leaving perilous putts to the top of a ridge, 3 putts were not the exception. The rough on the course has been brought down but finding it off the tee was a score killer, hacking out of the luscious grass being the best option most of the time. The top dressed greens are now settling down but the new and old grasses and winter wear still makes the reading of lines a fine science. However the receptiveness of the greens was the highlight of the day, picking your distance and going directly at pins is something to behold.
So the competitors were caught out, hence the SSS of 72. Some though took to the conditions like cats to the sun, Simon Pay once again joining the Scratch club with a fine 70 Gross, 69 nett to take the spoils. Pay was thankful for Marcus Lightfoot’s fatigued end to his otherwise excellent round. Lightfoot stood -1 on the 13th tee after a stunning treble birdie barrage from the 7th. 13 proved unluckily for the young hot shot coupled with a disappointing 18th to lose out on a card playoff. On the plus side Lightfoot now enjoys a new 6 handicap, and the title of Lord Lightfoot of Frodsham, well at home anyway. Finishing off the places was Sniper elite, Roger Griffiths, who’s excellent front 9 with a birdie at 7 sadly wasn’t matched on the back, missing out again via CPO.
Full results can be viewed Here
A sunny day after last weeks washout gave competitors a welcome happy lift as the Summer season progresses. The fine weather attracted the parasol brigade and the increase in random conversation to fill the time created by the slow pace of play. The course played longer than conditions suggested but receptive greens increased the likelihood that scores were out there.
The morning half of the draw enjoyed a slightly cooler round which Ralph Ramsey clearly enjoyed posting a 65 nett despite a treble at 9. Ramsey had regrouped to shoot two over gross on the back and set the score for the day. Sam Long, making his welcome return, threatened Ramsey’s lead after a blistering 68 gross, 65 nett with 3 front nine birdies cancelling out 3 bogeys before a fine 2 under gross back nine which got him to 2nd on cpo. Past Captain Steve Cunniffe will be ruing his bogey bogey finish 67 nett which saw him take 3rd spot. So the mark was set early and hunted down in the afternoon by an on fire Peter Duffy. Having turned in one over gross and negotiating the corner in level par Duffy secummed with three doubles to post a just outside 68. Tommy Briscoe was also building a solid attack with his own one over gross front nine, although doubles at 14 and 15 saw his challenge end eventually signing for a 68 and a new handicap of 10.
Ramsey’s mark would stay the test of time and his name is now engraved forever on Helsbys winner boards.
Full Results can be viewed Here
Welcome to the April medal, the first competitive competition of 2017. The season kicks off from here, with the first divisional contests, the first qualification round for the EJ Harding Trophy, the first qualification round for the Captains Prize, the first Club Championship qualifier, the first Order of Merit counting event and the first round of the eclectic. The medal was played on a glorious early April day, with warm air and sun but played tough with a CSS of 71 attributed to the changing ground conditions and rampant grass repairing itself after a winter of white walkers.
So to it
The Division struggled to settle throughout the day with just 31 recorded birdies for the 32 competitors. All aside from Marcus Lightfoot who enjoyed a better than expected 77 – 9 = 68 to take the division from last weeks winner Paul Saxon who recorded a solid 74 – 4 = 70 one better than 3rd placed Captain Elect Graham Polands 82 – 11 – 71.
A similiar story i Div Two with no one able to shake off the Winter blues. The 33 competitors racked up more bogeys than birdies with 17 proving particularly tough playing 1.97 over its par. Serial Winter winner Geoff Maher took the division with a strong 84 – 15 = 69 over Roddy Snedden who took 2nd on a CPO with an 86 – 15 = 71. Eddie Coxon took 3rd again on CPO with his own 83 – 12 = 71.
The competitors in Div Three by contrast enjoyed a fruitful day with multiple breakers of par. The best of the bunch and overall on the day was Division winner Brian Kennerley with an 84 – 19 = 65 return. John Butler took 2nd thanks to his 87 – 20 = 67 two better than 3rd place on CPO Keith Ainsworth who shot 86 – 17 =69
Div Four competitors found the conditions like most tough, especially the SI 1 5th which played 2.37 shots over par. John Burke took the division thanks to his 91 -23 = 68 which included a tasty par run from 7 – 11. Two shots further back Alan Griffiths finished 92 – 22 = 70 three better than Lol Armstrongs 3rd placed 94 – 21 =73.
Full Results can be viewed Here
The 3rd annual Helsby Oaks scratch begin with the morning round bathed in sunshine and competitors from Helsby and afar competing to lift the bespoke Acorn trophy hand crafted by Brian West.
Alan Rigby continued his recent good form to take the lead after the first 18 holes, another sub par round of 69 despite a drop shot at 15 saw him take the half way lead, 3 shots better the chasing pack. Visitor and previous member Carl Moore fared well on his return after turning in a disappointing 40 Moore settled on the back to post 75 and stay in the mix. Jaime O’Connors first round was a mixed bag after opening with a bogey a birdie on 7 and a double on 13 O’Connor would complete a frustrating 77 1st round total. Simon Pay and Sam Long would offer the nearest challenge to Rigbys lead, with rounds of 72 and 73 respectively. Long fading on the back after a level par 36 and Pay fighting back after a 38 front.
Round 2 was Rigbys to lose starting with his 3 shot advantage. Moores challenged faded and a 150 total after equaling his mornings 75 gave him a 4th place finish. Visitor Martin France came charging through the field to finish 7th overall on 154 making up for his first round disappoint with an afternoon 73. Long struggled to replicate his morning front nine completing the 2nd round in 76 however this was still good enough to claim 3rd place overall. Simon Pay also failed to follow and improve his morning round going one worse to finish on 145 and claim 2nd overall. The Afternoon certainly played harder, with 1st round leader Rigby finishing 3 shots worse off with a 72 which was still best of the Afternoon scores. This gave Rigby a 4 shot victory and the Helsby Oak presented by Captain Steve Cunniffe.
1st round results Here
2nd round results Here
Overall Results Here
Nett Results Here
A unique competition at Helsby introduced 43 Years ago in honour of past member Mr Harding . It was always a wish of Harding that a competition take place where by entry would be restricted to members who finished in the first three places in the respective divisions of the Monthly Medals, played during the months of April to September inclusive. Should a player qualify on more than one occasion any other member cannot fill the qualifying place/s. He simply wanted to see an increased coming together of members while retaining a competitive edge.
Jumping ahead to 2016, 43 competitors had satisfied the qualification criteria and would go on to justify this with a Year first 69 CSS being recorded. 3 of the 4 Club Championship finalist finished in the top, with two posting sub 70 gross scores, Alan Rigby and Simon Pay. Rigbys 69 was good enough for him to claim runner up spot on CPO thanks to his 33 shot inbound 9. Losing out on 2nd was Challenge Cup finalist Charlie Fletcher who faltered on the back after turning 1 under gross. Fletchers round also sees him drop to a healthy 4.2 handicap which will also make Challenge Cup opponent John Cheesbrough happy.
The day however belonged to Andrew Matu who blew the field away with a breathtaking 90-28=62. Matu’s score was setup early in the round with Pars at 1, 3 and 4 that contributed to him turning in 44 shots, a casual 6 better than handicap. A solid triangle followed by a par at 13 saw him increase his advantage even further to 9, before trebles at 14 and 17 brought him momentarily back towards the field. In reality his 17 hole score allowed him the luxury of knowing that any score lower than 7 would be enough. A no nonsense bogey followed for Matu and with it a first Major win and board competition.
Full scoresheet available Here
A miserable day brought home the horrible thought that Winter is coming. However with the final chance to qualify for the EJ Harding, the last Club Championship qualifier as well as the Order of Merit and eclectic an undeterred strong field ventured out onto the hollowed turf.
Today was a straight medal competition contested in divisions.
Jeff Hughes took division one with a 70 having gone out in 39 and returning in 36 one better than Jon Sharpe who will be kicking himself with closing bogeys on 16 & 17. A tough scoring day was confirmed with Marcus Lightfoot claiming third spot with a 80 – 9 =71.
The only negative from Dave Peates brilliant round will be the fact that today was not a board competition. After turning in just 39 shots his 79 – 13 = 67 blew away all but one other competitor in the form of Captains weekend battler Chris Lindley. Lindeys birdie – birdie run on 11 and 12 was cancelled out by his double – double on 13 and 14, a topsy turvey back nine took a hugely impressive 37 shots. Third place went to former course record holder Roger Horton finishing 83 – 12 =71.
As always a tight division with the winner, Mike Whitaker losing an unexpected 0.6 with his 90 – 20 = 70 thanks to the high 72 CSS. Just edged out but still qualifying for the EJ Harding was Adam Griffiths thanks to a 91 – 20 = 71 one better than fellow qualifier Peter Jackson who claimed third spot with a 90 – 18 = 72.
Division 4 was claimed by Tony Williams thanks to a steady 91 – 22 =69 in arguably the worst of the conditions. Williams edged 2nd placed Jim McAllister, 93 – 21 = 73 and third placed Jonathan Smith, 95 – 22 = 73 despite both parring the 18th.
Full results can be viewed Here
The full list of qualifiers for the EJ Harding has been e-mailed out by the Pro and will appear on the blog shortly. Those that have qualified need to know indicate their availability to play in the Gents locker room or contact the Pro who will be happy to help.
The final Club Championship table will also be published shortly with the final day confirmed soon after.
Although it sounds like a place in Golfing nightmares the Shankland Trophy is actually named after a former member who was the driving force behind the purchase of the fist nine holes from BICC. As the wind down of the Summer begins the Shankland is one of the last chances for members to get their name on the honours board for 2016.
Again weather forecasters got it wrong and the field were treated to a dry day with a slight breeze. From the early groups Jack Carroll was enjoying his round, the 10 handicap went out in 40, bogying the odds and parring the evens, before returning in 38 to give him a 76 – 10 = 66 total. Carl Robinson looked at times like he might match Carrolls score despite his devils own start of 6,6,6 he fought back to turn in 46. 1 over through the triangle Robinson was in the mix before a double at 13 and triple at 16 saw his challenge fade out. Paul Halliwell was another to move within striking distance of Carrolls lead, 4 better than his handicap on 18 Halliwell had a last hole to forget with an 8 putting his chances to bed, he would still go on to shoot a strong 72.
Mid competition starter Alan Rigby had not only the Shankland Trophy to compete for but also a place in the Club Championship, getting to busy early with a birdie on the 1st. A further birdie at 7 setup a one under 35 at the turn. A 2 at the 11th was set off against bogey at 17 on the back and a total of 69 – 3 = 66 gave Rigby a 2nd place behind clubhouse leader Carroll on a CPO. The stage was now set for new Helsby member David Bunting to claim his maiden title. A par, par start was quickly forgotten for Bunting who then went triple, double at the hard 3rd and 4th holes. Unfazed however Bunting parred the SI1 5th hole to go out in a level par nett 44 strokes. A strong 1 over around the corner before dropping two shots from 13 – 15 saw Bunting 6 shots better than his handicap, however the card wrecking 17 and 200 Yard Par 3 18th now faced him. Showing nerves of steel Bunting bogeyed 17 and stood on the 18th unbeknownst another bogey was enough to take the title. Landing short of the green Bunting chipped onto 15ft and had a hassle free 2 putt to take the spoils and have his name immortalized on the Clubs Honours boards.
Full results can be viewed Here