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2016 Match Play Championships

 The 2016 Match Play Championships were hosted by Weston Park GC.  The course was presented in fantastic condition and the players clearly enjoyed the test with some wonderful golf.

The event is made up of two divisions, Scratch and Handicap. 32 of the County’s best made up the field. 16 Scratch and 16 Handicap.

Play began on the Saturday with two rounds of knock-out which brought the field down to four in each division by the end of play taking them into the Sunday for the semi-finals and finals.

The semi-finals play saw the Scratch holder for the last three years, Jack Yule pitted against Toby Lane of Dunston Hall and Toby Briggs of Dunston Hall against Richard Wilson of Dereham. In the Handicap Division County Captain Kevin Webb of Costessey Park played Liam Cossey of Royal Norwich and Ian Rafferty of Costessey Park faced Josh Simpson of King’s Lynn.

In the scratch semi-finals, Yule and Lane exchanged holes throughout the match with neither giving an inch. A mis-directed shot by Lane at the 17 hole gave Yule the edge and needing no further invitation he proceeded to press home his advantage eventually coming out a 3 and 1 winner, booking his place in the afternoon final. Briggs and Wilson was a real battle with each showing their golfing skills, so much so that the match remained unresolved until the 18th hole. Briggs finally holed a six-footer to secure a win and the chance to play Yule in the final.

The Handicap semi-finals also produced some great golf with Webb emerging victorious in his match and Rafferty securing his win to ensure he final showdown would be an all Costessey Park affair.

The afternoon finals were no less a spectacle.

For the Scratch Match-Play Championships, Yule opened with a win on the first hole and Briggs replying by winning the second. This continued back and forth for the rest of the match. With neither looking as if they would crack. At the end of the 18 holes the match was still all square and so a play-off was needed. Briggs won the toss and elected to take the tee. Soaring drive don he fairway left a gap wedge to the green. Yule followed this with an equally fine shot leaving an even shorter shot to the flag. The green was duly reach in regulation by both players and two putts later saw them move on to the second play-off hole, a par 3. Briggs retained the honour and placed his tee shot some twelve feet short of the flag. Yule followed this with his ball coming to rest inches off the green, some 20 feet beyond the flag. Yule was first to play and deftly chipped he ball into the centre of the hole leaving Briggs a putt for a half.  Briggs checked the line and sent his putt on its way. A good putt but just slipping by left Yule with his fifth Match Play title.  Both players are England Golf Internationals and this was a fitting tribute to their golfing skills.

The 3rd/4th place consolation final gave a fitting victory to Wilson who took the full 18 holes to record his win against Lane. A thrilling match and a credit to golf.

In the Handicap Match-Play Championships, Webb had a steady start against his regular four-somes partner Rafferty with holes being shared for almost the entire round. Clearly knowing each other’s game so well was a bonus and by the 18th hole, a majestic par five, it was still all square and yet another play-off loomed.  County Captain Webb secured a five and Rafferty having a putt for a half saw his best effort go past the hole leaving victory and the Championship Title to his good friend Webb.  Yet another advert for the game of golf, the spirit in which it is played and the friendship that evolves from it.

The 3rd/4th place handicap consolation final also went the full distance with Junior County player, Cossey tasting victory on the 18th hole emerging as the winner by 1 hole from Simpson, also a Junior Squad player.

The presentation party following the Championships gave Vice President Graham Turner the chance to offer the County’s congratulations to all the competitors for an outstanding tournament. 

 

The first Trophies to be awarded went to Richard Wilson of Dereham for his 2016 Scratch Order of Merit victory and Graham Cullum for the 2016 Handicap Order of Merit title. Both players had secured their titles by competing in a series of Order of Merit events held by the County throughout the year with points being awarded to the top ten finishers in each division.  

   

Richard Wilson - 2016Scratch OOM Champion     

Graham Cullum - 2016 Handicap OOM Champion  

Now it was the turn of the Match-Play trophy presentations. First up was County Captain Kevin Webb to receive the 2016 Handicap Match-Play Championship Salver and the delight on his face was clear for all to see. Kevin is a great supporter of all things golf in the County and this was a fitting climax to his year.       

Finally, came England and County player Jack Yule who beamed from ear to ear as he was awarded the 2016 Scratch Match-Play Championship Trophy. Jack has been with the County for many years both as a Junior and now as a full County Player. He is held in high regard within the County and indeed England and his fledgling career is really taking off.  

As the playing season comes to an end it is good to reflect upon 2016 and what a great year it has been for golf in Norfolk. Hundreds of Golfers of all abilities have enjoyed the fellowship of golf and the competitions administered by the County Union in bringing opportunities to all to play in County Championships whether Scratch or Handicap. 

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