Golf round-up: The latest news from Harrogate & district's courses

Three Oakdale GC's Division Three Team Championship-winning side being presented with Chadwick Bowl by Harrogate & District Union president Phil Kitching. Picture: SubmittedThree Oakdale GC's Division Three Team Championship-winning side being presented with Chadwick Bowl by Harrogate & District Union president Phil Kitching. Picture: Submitted
Three Oakdale GC's Division Three Team Championship-winning side being presented with Chadwick Bowl by Harrogate & District Union president Phil Kitching. Picture: Submitted
A round-up of the region’s latest golf action, as submitted by the clubs themselves.

Knaresborough GC

There was no word on who was buying the drinks after Chris Firth (9) emerged from the top three to beat brother George (4) in Division One of the May Medal with a stunning 66.

Although the latter finished third, with 10 pars and four birdies, his sub-par 70 was not enough to close the sibling gap.

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Chris Firth was driving well throughout and the birdie at par five eight came after another solid tee shot and four iron which left a 50 yard pitch to 10 feet, where his putting proved on song as well.

His poorest shot, with a four iron, down hill at the 13th was brilliantly rescued with a 210 yard iron into the green for birdie two. He followed that immediately by splashing out from a green side bunker at 14 to sink a 12 - inch putt.

Second was Andy Marshall (11), edging ahead of George Firth on the countback. Not to be left out of the picture, dad David Firth (10) came in eighth on 74.

In nett scores, Simon Brown (17) posted the result of the day when he finished with a 65 in Division Two. He owed a good day to consistency off the tees and a knack for holing a variety of six and seven footers, particularly over the back nine.

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Good recovery was also key. An example was the 14th where having twice missed the green, he still got up and down to make nett par. Peter Knight (17) closed second on 69 with Paul Cameron (17) third on 70.

In Division Three, the top three players were divided only on countback, with Ronnie Harrison (25) leading Ian Southall (23) and John Bradley (24) all on 71.

Favourable weather - at last - undoubtedly made for better scoring with 14 competitors finishing on par or better. But all of them also agreed that the billiard-table smooth greens and rapidly improving fairways played a big part too.

There was some impressive scoring too in the Walter Bowman Trophy, with Julie Lovell and Kevin Lodge heading the field on 41, claiming the prize on countback over three other pairs on the same score.

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Enjoying better conditions as well were the juniors with Zach Sloanes winning the monthly medal on 37 ahead of Alfie Carass on 36 and Jacob Gray on 32.

Pannal GC

On Sunday May 5, the Lockwood Trophy was contested as Pannal GC’s annual Ladies versus Juniors match took place.

There was a fantastic turnout of 12 juniors and 10 ladies, who played five 4BBB match plays, with the remaining two juniors playing a friendly game at the end of the field with Simon Stalker, junior coordinator.

The match was won by the ladies 3 ½ to 1 ½.

Tuesday May 7 saw Pannal host a Ladies Medal. In total, 27 ladies entered the competition, which was also a qualifier for the top eight competitors to go into the Mary Lee Singles Matchplay Knockout competition.

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Division One was won by Linda Moore with nett 75, playing some very consistent golf for all 18 holes. In second place was Amanda Dunn, nett 78, while third spot went to Vicky Eyre, nett 81.

Division Two was won by Helen Mountford with nett 76, playing a tidy round including two pars and a birdie on the par-three third hole.

Jackie Smart came second with nett 82 and Sue White was in third place with nett 83.

Seven ladies played in the Nine-hole Stableford competition, Joanne McCormack winning with 16 points, including two pars.

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Saturday May 11 saw the Harewood Cup medal take place in sunny conditions. Tom Booth’s excellent form continued as he won Division One with a nett 68, going out in 39, coming back in 34 with three birdies and 11 pars, beating Michael Cliff by one shot. This was Booth’s third consecutive medal win!

Jon Clayton took Division Two with a nett 71, going out in 42, coming back in 38 with one birdie and 10 pars, beating Anthony McGibbon in a card play-off.

Simon Mitchell won Division Three with a nett 71, going out in 47, coming back in 39 with one birdie and six pars beating Paul Chumas by three shots. There were a total of 30 twos recorded.

The Men’s Winter League final was played on May 7, with Alan Morris & David Whan taking on David Everingham & Paul Chumas.

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After 18 holes in brilliant sunshine, the match went to the 19th hole where Morris & Whan managed to secure a hard-fought victory.

Harrogate GC

The first Sunday in May was very busy at Harrogate GC, with two competitions, the Summer League and the Mixed Section’s Batchelor’s Cup.

The standard set in the Summer League continued into the second round, with high scoring at the top.

After a fine round in the previous day’s May Medal, Keith Rogers (13) performed even better to win this round, scoring a very impressive 42 points. Not too far beind, 40 points gave David Entwistle (22) second place, with Philip Rhodes (23) two points worse off to take third.

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There was a real tussle for the Batchelor’s Cup, the Foursomes Stableford contest for Mixed Pairs.

Just one point separated the top two pairs with Margaret & Stephen Wildridge just losing out to this year’s winners, Celia & Andrew Fowler. Lindsay & Peter Raybaud came home in third place.

Results: Batchelor’s Cup - 1st C. & M. Fowler, 32 pts. 2nd M. & S. Wildridge, 31 pts. 3rd L. & P. Raybaud, 28 pts.

Twenty-one Ladies played the May Medal alongside qualifying for the Challenge Bowl.

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The competition was played over Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. The weekend players had the better conditions before the torrential rain hit the course on Monday evening. On Tuesday all the bunkers were GUR and there was quite a lot of standing water on the course

The top eight players now go on to play a knockout for the Challenge Bowl.

Results: May Medal Div One -1st Caroline Wood, nett 73. 2nd Valerie Thornborrow, 77. 3rd Lindsay Raybaud, 83.

Division Two - 1st Karen Myers, 76. 2nd Judith Nickols, 79. 3rd Joanne Crouse, 81.

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Division Three - 1st Lynn Shears, 79. 2nd Elizabeth Goody, 79. 3rd Maggie Gobbi, 84.

In Thursday’s Nine-hole Belmont Challenge, it was Charlotte Franks (19) who came out on top with 19 points from Patt Capps (14) finishing with 14 points.

Another strong field entered last week’s Midweek Stableford. Just two points covered nine players at the top, four of them finishing with 36 points.

Roger Willacott (13) and John Blair (15) were tied on 37 points and it was Willacott’s back-nine that saw him home in fourth place. Thus, there was a three-way tie for the top three places.

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All three scored 38 points with the card play-off showing the excellent rounds of Max Sowray (9) and David Girling (10) placed first and second with the ever-improving Billy Burgoyne (24) in third.

On Saturday, Harrogate GC played another Stableford competition, an individual Stableford in three divisions, and this attracted an entry list of 135 players.

It was a glorious day and this seemed to encourage loads of impressive scores across all three divisions.

Jack de Gruchy was in fine form, scoring 10 gross pars and a birdie on his way to winning Division One with 41 points. Chris Ball secured second place on 36 points.

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In the tussle for third, it was Steven Riley who prevailed after a countback on 35 points from the low handicap pair of Marc Rice (0) and George Davies (2).

Division Two provided an exciting, high-scoring finish, with scores tied for the top two as well as for third and fourth.

Outstanding scores of 42 points from Ian Blackstone and Jarrod Robinson left them at the top of the pile, with Blackstone gaining the advantage after a card play-off.

Just one point back, playing splendid rounds were Mark Winter and Kevin Howe (17). It was the superior back-nine that gained Winter third place.

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Also, in a tough battle to come out top in Division Three with two points covering the top five, Andrew Hogg picked up third from John Parker (32) and Paul Mayfield (24) after the countback separated them as they were tied on 37 points.

Another card play-off was required to determine the winner, who was Robin Nichols, leaving Simon Rodham as the runner-up.

Results: Individual Stableford Division One - 1st J. de Gruchy (10), 41pts. 2nd C. Ball (8), 36 pts. 3rd S. Riley (11), 35 pts. (bb9).

Division Two - 1st I. Blackstone (14), 42 pts. (bb9). 2nd J. Robinson (15), 42 pts. 3rd M. Winter (15), 41 pts. (bb9).

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Division Three - 1st R. Nichols (21), 38 pts. (bb9). 2nd S. Rodham (20), 38 pts. 3rd A. Hogg (28), 37 pts. (bb9).

Harrogate & District Union

Friday April 26 could well be remembered as the biggest day in the Harrogate & District Union of Golf Clubs’ history.

The day saw 116 golfers flock to Rudding Park GC for as 2024 Union president Phil Kitching held his Meet the President event. Attendees included all Captain and Lady Captains of member clubs, from Ilkley to Northallerton and sponsors TechBuyer, Redline Specialist Cars and DSD Construction Ltd.

The morning commenced at 11.30am with 29 teams playing in a Texas Scramble teeing-off on a 20-hole golf course, which included the newly designed par-three 11th hole and par-four 12th.

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Some great laughs were had and there was some good scoring too, with Ripon City GC eventually being announced victors with a score of 64.6. Romanby GC finished in second place with 65.4, whilst Otley GC were in third with 65.8.

Refreshments were served in the clubhouse before the 172 guests meandered to Rudding Park Hotel for a BBQ, raffle, auction and prize-giving ceremony.

Here, remarkably, £1200 was raised for junior and amateur golf within the Union.

Kitching reflected: “It was fantastic seeing so many people attend the day at the end of April. The weather hasn’t been kind and we were sceptical about hosting 116 people, especially for the golf.

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"But the incredible hard work of the greenkeepers meant we managed to open all 20 holes, so players from across our county could enjoy a fantastic day.

“The evening event was great, too, with many spouses attending the BBQ. Better too, was the fact we raised £1200 for our Union. These funds will be useful in developing what we have to offer to the members at our 13 clubs.”

Rudding Park also hosted a Summer Championship on Thursday May 2. This was to replace a cancelled winter event. The format was a stableford competition for four-player teams.

The team handicap limit was of 85 percent of the course handicap, with men playing off yellow tees and the women playing off the reds.

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Union President Kitching was in the first team out which set a target of 98 Stableford points. This team held its position until game 12 when a group from Oakdale GC went top with a better back-nine score.

So, in first place, was the Oakdale team of Peter Baxter, Russell Thompson, Mark Woolley and David Hodgson on 98 points.

Kitching, Mathew Wharldall, Louie Williams and Andy Williams from Rudding Park GC also finished on 98 points, and in third place was the Ripon team of Tim Jones, Neil Clough, John Laver and Stephen Manby with 95 points.

Mike Edwards, who is the Union’s competition secretary’s, came in fourth in a team from Bedale GC, with a tally of 91 points.

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The Third Division Team Championship was held at Knaresbrough on Sunday May 5. In total, 17 four-player teams competed in this Stableford competition over the yellow course.

The winning team is the one that has the highest aggregate score. There is also a prize for the highest scoring individual.

Two Oakdale players topped the individual leader board from the beginning of the competition, Daniel Paddison on 38 points and Thanh Truong with 37 points.

Thus, the winner’s trophy, the STV Chadwick bowl went to the Oakdale team of Andrew Jones – 22 points, Michael Hughes – 25 points, Troung – 37points and Paddison – 38 points.

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Overall, Oakdale had an aggregate score of 122 points, while the runners-up, Knaresbrough’s team of Scott Whitaker – 33 points, Leigh Richardson - 32 points, Ian Thomas – 18 points and Ronnie Harrison - 30 points, recorded a total of 113 points.

The winner of the individual competition was Paddison on 38 points and Truong was runnet-up with 37 points..

Towards the end of the field, Graham Thomson of Harrogate GC recorded a hole-in-one on the par-three third hole.

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