1st Ian Swarbrick 24 pts
2nd Vernon Edmondson 23pts
3rd Diane Clark 22 pts [countback]
Next week they’ll be golfing in Dubai, Ian, Joe Shaw & Ed Robertson but Sunday gone they were focused on Silecroft and to some effect, with Joe carding 22 points and Ed posting 18 of his own. They are rapidly catching Ed up on general play but right now their handicaps remain the same and that makes them a danger for now and into the new season. For some of us it’s ‘stand back and admire’ as they tee off the first and keep walking up and up the first fairway to reach their ball. An opening salvo of 4 for 3,3 for 4,3 for 3 & 4 for 3 gave Ian a fine start but after a 6 on the 14th brought an element of doubt a birdie on 15 provided a superb response. The birdie also made him the first winner of three balls for twos in the Natterjacks. Coming home 4 for 2, 4 for 3, 5 for 2 meant a net total of 35 shots for 24 points. That 6 for 1 on 14 also means of course that it could have been 25 or 26 points but for the moment 24 will have to do! For Vernon Edmondson 23 must have looked like a winning score and he too could have looked back and known what was truly possible after his blob on 12. A string of three pointers from 14 to 18 were the true measure of his progress and excellent reward for all the practice. The 12th & 14th were definitely the tough holes of the day but for Diane Clark they returned 4 points as she returned to form with an outstanding round of 22 points, including pars on 12, 16 & 18. Ten points from the last three proved the difference in the count-back. She’s back! Joe Shaw parred the last too and was one of the few to play 14 in par. More pars on 15, 16 & 18 helped him to net 39 shots and 22 points with a solid level of consistency. Brian Dawson doesn’t get out much these days so his 22 points might have come as a surprise but as a previous winner he’d already demonstrated that the talent was there and so it proved on Sunday. He also came home in 39 shots with five pars boosting his points tally. Playing partner Paul Carter wasn’t far behind with 21 points, including a birdie on the 16th. Alan Holmes was another Mister Consistent with three x three pointers and six twos in his 21 points, closely followed by Tony Waugh who boosted his Order of Merit score with another good day, this time with 20 points. It was also a good day for Joan Myers as she collected 19 points toward her challenge for the ladies Order of Merit. A superb birdie on the 2nd gave her four points and was soon followed by a par on 12 for 3. Another lady back to form! The closest match of the day involved Richard Roberts, Dave Boyce, Dave Warren and Neil Robertson. It was Richard’s birdie on the 16th which proved the difference, those four points bringing him 19, one point clear of the other three. Bogeys on 13, 14, 17 & 18 held back Ed Robertson’s round, when for most of us a five on each of those would be a success. Playing off 6 might be a dream for many but when you can’t afford bogeys golf is tough. He’s also the teacher and target, which playing partners Joe & Ian are using as inspiration to lift their own game. Peter Clark began and ended with pars for three pointers among his total of 18 and was among the few to par the 14th. Back to full swing for John French, who also had 18 points with successive pars on 15 & 16. It was a slow start for Brad Steel with just seven points from his first five holes but a powerful finish brought 11 from the last four and another good score for his Order of Merit. Steven Rowe had an amazing up and down round with birdies on 13 and 17 and two blobs among his 17 points while Sue Driver & Chris Lloyd-Rogers had a ding dong contest with the lead going back and forth. A 4 for 3 on 12 gave Chris the early lead before Sue leveled it back up on 13. Sue took the narrowest of leads on the 15th only for Chris to get it back again on the next. So an honorable tie seemed an appropriate result, both carding 17 points. It was the same story for Helen & Jon Holmes, each taking the lead then surrendering it again before both returned 17 points. Antony Holmes picked up six points from 10 & 18 and also had a par for three on 14 in his 17 points. John Armstrong had ‘one of those days’ we’ve all had but did find consolation in walking off the 18th with a par. It was also a struggle for Doug Myers, for whom a 4 for 3 on the sixteenth was his best.
A special mention must be made of Dave Clark who played twice, yes twice!!! Perhaps his biggest success of the weekend was persuading George van Boyd to play on Saturday. Into 40 mph winds! They played and they returned – windswept! But if God truly does love a tryer then their places on the ultimate golf course are assured.
Order of Merit
Men. There were some significant moves after round 8. Tony Waugh remains the leader of the men’s division and was able to begin dropping lower scores after playing seven times. [It is the highest total from a maximum of six rounds which will produce the winner.] Tony was able to swap a 20 for a 17 to move on to a total of 120. Will this be a final score? Will Australia come to soon? He has an 18 and two 19’s to drop IF he can score higher than those. But with four rounds to go and eight chances to improve there are others who can leap into contention because they have even lower scores to replace. Ian Swarbrick reached six rounds played on Sunday and his 24 at the weekend put him bang in the hunt. He now has a score of 112 but has a 15, a 16 and an 18 to swap. If he continues to play and produces higher scores he could be the biggest danger to Tony. Geoff Freeman has three good scores and three low ones to drop and could leap forward from 107. Davey Boyce could jump forward too. He swapped a 13 for an 18 this weekend and now has 109 with a 14 to drop when he goes again. Vernon made a giant leap on Sunday, demonstrating just what is possible. He swapped a 12 for a 23 to be this weekend’s biggest mover, up from 95 to 106. David Clark now has 106 with a 15 and two 16’s to drop. Dave Warren has played more than six rounds and has 102 with a 15 and two 17’s to replace. Doug Myers may not have been at his best in round 8 but he has a 24 to his name and has 105 with a 12 and a 14 to drop. Two scores of 20 from eight rounds to come and he could well be in contention. Neil Robertson swapped a 15 for an 18 after Sunday and sits on 103. Perhaps the darkest horse is Richard Roberts who has only posted five scores but for 95 points. Another 20 or 21 and a 17 to drop could propel him to the top.
Ladies. Leader Helen Holmes was able to add two points to her six round score, moving on from 108 to 110. Diane Clark was the weekend’s big mover carding 22 points on her sixth round for 95 but it may be that her travels restrict her challenge. Joan Myers returned to form at the weekend posting a 19 for her sixth round. She now has 94 but with two 13s and a 14 to drop.
With only seven women participating there is only a prize for the winner available but could there yet be a twist in the tale? There will be equal prize money for the winners of each division and at least three prizes in the men’s section. There are also now balls for twos and with four rounds to go we’re hoping to give away quite a few. See you on February 12th & 13th for Round 9.
This Wednesday February 2nd is the clubs AGM at Millom Cricket Club.
Be there if you care.
Report by Dave Ward