Pepperell wins, and reduces handicap

The first medal competition of the season, kindly sponsored by Club Auditors Easterbrook Eaton Limited, was played last Saturday at Sidmouth Golf Club, writes John Rockey.

In good conditions, with the course beginning to show promising signs of recovery from the long dry spell over the past few weeks, it was the first opportunity for members to match their skills against the course in the knowledge that every shot taken would be entered on the scorecard.

In spite of a disastrous start with a double bogey six on the opening hole and without a birdie on his card on the remaining holes, Challenge Cup holder David ‘Stonky’ Pepperell played steadily to win Division One of the medal with a nett 67 and also reduce his handicap to 9. Hot on his heels was Paddy Tallon who came in with a nett 68, which could have been much better had he not had three sixes on his card, but was just good enough to edge out new daddy Ian Bright on a countback who also carded a 68.

There were, of course, some tales of woe when bad finishes let down some players, notably Terry Jones who dropped three of the five shots he is allowed, on the last two holes to come in with a 69. Peter Spooner went a bit farther to ensure that he didn’t figure in the prizes by somehow managing to drop eight shots on the last five holes having been only four over par before his generous finish.

In Division Two, Eric McMath produced the round of the day and easily walked off with top spot with a gross 78, which equated to a nett 61 off his 17 handicap.

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However, luckily for those who regularly lose money to him during the week, he will now be playing off a 15 handicap.

Second with a nett 67 was Simon Emerson who just edged out Keith Newton into third place on a countback, but Keith will be ruing his double bogey six on the last hole which stopped him taking second place.

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Vernon Ruffle took Division Three with a nett 68.

After a very ordinary front nine, which included blowing four shots at both the third and fifth holes, to be out in 50 shots, he steadied himself at the turn to take the division prize and with it a reduced handicap to 26.

Second, with a nett 69, was Greg Wilmington who birdied the last hole to beat off the challenge of John Carroll who returned a nett 70 following his recent visit to India to brush up on his transcendental meditation techniques.

The Friday Stableford attracted a good field of 43 players, including lady members, all eager to rack up some points in the Friday League which will run during the season, writes John Rockey.

With an incredible round of 73 off his 18 handicap, Matt Fripp scored an eye-watering 47 points to easily take the top spot in this competition, or any other played this year come to that!

His round was based on 10 solid pars and a birdie which enabled him to attract the handicap reduction committee’s attention who promptly reduced his handicap to 15.

Lee Wenham’s regular play during the winter has paid dividends and, whilst he couldn’t get very close to Matt’s mammoth score, he returned a good total of 40 points to come in second and at the same time managed to reduce his handicap further to 12.

In third place was Mark Lavers who celebrated his return to the club with a solid round of 68 which, off his three handicap, netted him 37 points.

Whilst its early days in the tussle for the Friday League title, Lee Wenham, with his two second places, leads the field with 16 points with Matt Fripp in second place on 12 points.

The Easter Monday Stableford was hampered by poor weather which, whilst being uncomfortable for the players, was a welcome arrival for the course which benefited from the rain.

With strong, gusty winds accompanying the showers, it was a day for those who were able to control the ball flight and it was no surprise that three handicapper Duncan Taylor relished the challenge to score a level par round.

Duncan recovered from a poor start to birdie the fifth, eighth and 10th holes and could even afford a dropped shot on the final hole to come in with 39 points and with it a handicap cut to two.

Second, with 35 points, was James Winchester who has been training hard recently which allowed him to have a good finish on the later holes, which edged Mark Thomas into third place on a countback.

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