Ben, is an Oxford Don

Zimbabwean, Benjamin Follett-Smith eventually won the foreshortened “Oxford Classic” by a single shot from Joe Knox, Luke Donnelly and Toby Hunt.

A late entry from “Mother Nature”, upset the apple cart on the first day of the tournament, bringing with her heavy thundery rainstorms which forced the delay and eventual cancellation of the opening round, reducing the event to 18 holes.

When play resumed at 08:00am on the second day, Donnelly set the bar at 3 under par very early on, playing in the first group, which included Andrew “Beef” Johnson, who was making a welcome return to his Jamega roots and play some, “happy golf”.

Some 30 minutes later Toby Hunt joined Donnelly on 3 under par and the pair settled in for a hoped-for long wait to see if they would be heading for a play-off, or heading home.

Three hours later Follett-Smith allowed Donnelly and Hunt to go home, when he posted a 4 under par 66 to take over the waiting chair to see if his score would be good enough for the win.

A further hour passed by and Joe Knox came close, carding a 3 under par 67 and so it was back to the waiting room for Follett-Smith, to endure a further nervous wait to see if his 4 under par would be good enough.

Well, the wait was worth it, as his score stood the test of time and a relieved Follett-Smith was delighted to take home the title, along with the £3,500.00 winners’ cheque.

A huge shout-out must go to The Oxford Golf Club’s green keeping staff, led by Douglas McGregor, who, had the perfect greens, running at 12.5 on the Stimp-Meter and Club Head Professional, Joe Pepperell for all his amazing help in getting the tournament staged.

Langley, Masters The Players

David Langley and Dan Brooks put on a spectacular display of scoring in the second round of The Players Club Masters, when both players scored 10 under par 62’s to end the day tied up on 12 under par.

However, it was the amateurs who stole the limelight at the Players Club on the first day, with The Kendleshire’s Naider Hussain and Hanbury Manors Harry Goddard both posting 4 under par 68’s to set the early pace.

Then, much later in the day, Players Club amateur, Jack Cope, set the Cat amongst the Pro’s with a magnificent 6 under par 66 to join Mitch Waite and Toby Hunt at the top of the leader board to tee off in the last group on the final day.

Stunning weather again for the second and final day at The Players Club and the early starters took full advantage with much improved scoring compared to the first day with a prime example being the amateur, James Cooper who rattled in a 5 under par 67 that included a double bogey 7 on the fifteenth.

Then the attention turned to group 31 with Dan Brooks who, after a fairly pedestrian front nine of 2 under par, went on a spectacular run on the back nine covering it in an 8 under par 28 with 6 Birdies and an Eagle.

In the very next group, David Langley was also burning up the course covering the front nine in a 6 under par 30 but not content to sit on his laurels, Langley added 4 more Birdies on the back nine, to also post 10 under par and join a surprised Brooks at the top of the leader board.

It was going to be almost a 2 hour wait for the pair until the final groups recorded their scores and their nearest challenger turned out to be Jack Cope, who carded a 4 under par 68 to finish third on 10 under par but what might have been if Cope had not double bogied the second hole?

And so, it was off for a play-off starting on the par five 14th hole and it was over quickly when Brooks, with the honour, pulled his tee shot into a small copse of trees, whilst Langley found the centre of the fairway some 320 yards out.

Langley hit his 186 yard second to within 25 feet for two, Brooks extricated himself from the trees then hit his third shot to 15 feet but it was all over when Langley made a Birdie 4 and Brooks missed his chance to extend the playoff.

It was a shame that one of the players had to lose after both men produced such spectacular golf on the final day.

A special thanks go out to the club, green staff and especially the members who made the tournament possible and kept everybody safe in these strange times.

Triumphant Return for Abbott

Jamie Abbott with Jamega at The Leatherhead 2020Jamie Abbott made a successful return to tournament golf, after the enforced lay-off due to Covid-19, winning The Leatherhead Trophy by the narrowest of margins from Mitch Waite, with an 11 under par total.

Social distancing with the scoring was certainly not being observed after the first round of the The Leatherhead Trophy, with a very closely packed leader board headed by the indomitable Jamie Abbott, who negotiated the par 71 layout in a bogey free 7 under par 64.

Tightly packed in behind Abbott, on 6 under par, were Guy Woodman and Will Enefer, who in turn led Tom Sloman on 5 under par, by one shot.

There were 6 players on 4 under par who had the leaders in their sights, so it was going to be a closely fought battle to the finish on the second day.

The second day burst into life with Jonathan Poulton shooting an excellent 7 under par 64 early on, putting him on top of the clubhouse leader board at 7 under, just one shot ahead of the talented amateur, Ollie Huggins who added a 6 under par 65 to his first-round effort.

Marcus Armitage and Gary King rained on Poulton’s parade when each of them carded 6 under par 65’s to post 8 under par totals, however their time at the top was short-lived as Mitch Waite finished on 10 under par with the second 7 under par 64 of the day.

Despite a bogey 4 at the last, Jamie Abbott, in the last group, spoiled Waite’s day, adding a 4 under par 67 to his first round of 64 to pip him at the post by a single shot.

Club manager Mike Lowe, greenkeepers, clubhouse staff and not least the members, deserve an NHS style round of applause for the herculean effort they all put in to enable the tournament to take place in such an efficient and safe manner.

The Leatherhead Club was in perfect condition, as shown by the low scoring, so we would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great day’s golf.