Brown miles better than the rest

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The 2017 Solopark County Open was held yesterday in fine conditions on the Gog Magog Old Course.

Early scores indicated that it was playing its full length from the new black tees. The greens were also causing problems to those not used to slick and undulating surfaces.

Sharing the lead after the 1st round was last year’s winner Miles Collins and James Reeson of Brampton Park, who won as an amateur around the Wandlebury course a few years ago. Miles, a past winner on the Europro tour, birdied his last hole for a level par round of 70, whereas James who was going extremely well at 3 under with 4 holes to play, dropped shots at 15, 16, and 18 to join him on 70.

Others lurking close behind were amateurs Owen Davies of Brampton Park on 71,  Olly Tuck of Walden, Paul Hodgkin of Ramsey, and professional Stuart Brown all  on 72.

Leading the John Durman Handicap Trophy was junior Jacob Gamble who returned an excellent 73 – 5 = 68, with senior golfer Chris Brown from the Links on 69 net.

The afternoon round saw an improvement in the scoring with the Cambridgeshire professionals coming to the fore with 5 of them breaking the 70 barrier.

Adam Pike 68, Oliie Fullerton 68, Miles Collins 68, James Reeson 69 and a magnificent 66 from Stuart Brown all meant that Miles and Stuart had tied on 138 and a sudden death play off was needed to decide the winner. Stuart was out in just 31 strokes with birdies at 2 and 9 and an eagle at the 8th hole.

James Reeson narrowly missed the play off by one shot having recovered from dropping 4 shots in 3 holes by birdieing 5 of his last 10 holes.

The playoff was over after just one hole when Stuart made an excellent up and down from the greenside bunker on the 1st hole after Miles could not get down in two from just short of the green after hitting his tee shot into a fairway bunker.

It was the Nene Park professional’s 3rd County Open title after winning at Ramsey in 2012 and Saffron Walden in 2014.

Jacob Gamble continued where he left off and came in with another excellent round of 71 – 5 = 66 to win the John Durman Handicap Trophy by a massive 6 shots from Daniel Clarke of the Nene Park Golf Club.
Winner of the amateur prize with a total of 74 + 68 = 142 was Callum Brookes, County A team player and one of our finest prospects in the County.

A special mention for Spencer Burlingham of Saffron Walden GC who holed in one at the 204 yards 13th hole. Spencer has struggled with his golf of late so it was nice to see him presented with some commemorate golf balls by President Doug Poole.

The course manager Andrew Howarth and his staff are to be congratulated for presenting a course in such tremendous condition.

The catering and bar service was up to its usual high standard, and a special mention to Alan and his staff for the bacon baps for hungry golfers at 7 30am!

My thanks also go to our two referees Alan Duggins and Steve Kane who were out there all day making sure there were no delays in the play and to President Doug Poole and past President Dickie New for their invaluable help in starting and checking cards. Not forgetting Gog Magog club professional Harry Harrison who kindly assisted with registration.

Special thanks go to Rodney Bird of Solopark for his generous sponsorship of the past 3 years. This year over £1100 was given out in vouchers for the amateurs and £2000 for the professionals.

Next year’s County Open is on the 26th August at the Saffron Walden Golf Club.