Jonathan Lee wins Sidmouth club championship

The Club Championship at Sidmouth Golf Club was played last Sunday in lovely sunny weather on a course which was at its best after the recent rain had softened the fairways and greens, writes John Rockey.

The club championship is a 36-hole medal competition played off scratch with the two rounds played in one day. It therefore attracts only the best, and fittest, players in the club who normally make extensive preparations prior to the championship to ensure they are in peak physical condition.

This year, the strict diet that Jonathan Lee has been on recently, whilst his wife is away on holiday with the children, clearly paid off with a three over par morning round of 69, and showed his newly-found stamina by following this with an excellent one over par round of 67 in the afternoon in spite of missing a short putt on the last hole.

His four over par total of 136 was good enough to beat Devon county captain Neil Holland into second place by two shots. Neil, who has been playing some startling golf recently, was not in his most sublime form for the championship and carded rounds of 69 and 69 for a total of 138, which for most of us would be a fantastic score, but for him was probably a disappointing performance.

Third, on a total of 140, was Stuart Coles who scored an unspectacular 73 in the morning, but came back in the afternoon with a superb 67 which equalled the best score of the day.

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?The Aylmer Cup is one of the oldest trophies played for at Sidmouth Golf Club having been presented to the club by one of its first captains at the turn of the 1900s.

It was fitting therefore that the immediate past captain, Nick Bater, won the cup this year, particularly as he has not been playing a lot of golf recently having been laid low for a while.

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Nick’s round of 73 gross (nett 62) was good enough to win this 18-hole medal competition and also enabled him to reduce his handicap from 11 to 10 and now only needs another five shots off his handicap to be able to compete on equal terms with his son David. Just edged into second place was Paul Renken with a gross 80 (nett 63)’ who also got a handicap reduction to 16 and third on a countback was Howard Cushing who shot an 88 gross (nett 63). Long-hitting Howard is regularly getting into the prizes of late and on this form will be reducing his 23 handicap sharply from now on.

? In the Allstate Monday Stableford some new names appeared on the winners’ list with Vernon Ruffle coming in with 41 points and thus reducing his handicap to 26 as well as alerting the ever- watchful handicap committee to consider a further cut should his good form continue.

Second, on 40 points, was the inconsistent Martyn French who managed to play the last 10 holes in one under par to ensure that he beat Mike Slot into third place on a countback. Martyn reduced his handicap to 14 and Mike on this form will soon be down to his proclaimed target of single figures.

?On the birdie count, Neil Holland continues to dominate and added a further five to his impressive total and will soon be crashing through the ton mark.

He now leads the trailing pack by an incredible 37 birdies and is unlikely to be caught during the remainder of the season.

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