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BARTRUM AND BIGGS RETAIN MACLEOD CUP

Chris Bartrum and James Biggs of Diss became the first pair to win the Suffolk Amateur Foursomes Championship for a third successive year. They are pictured right receiving the trophy from County President, Colin Firmin.

They retained the Macleod Cup with rounds of level par 69 and 73 at Stowmarket finishing three shots ahead of Ben Sayers (Felixstowe Ferry) and Josh Robertson (Ufford Park) who had rounds of 76 and 69 to take the Watts Salvers.

Third place went to Suffolk Open champion Sam Debenham, playing this year with Andy Cunningham (Stowmarket) in place of regular partner Jason Finch who was unfit. They were consistent with rounds of 72 and 74.

Bartrum and Biggs, winners at Felixstowe Ferry in 2015 and at Ipswich last year, made a slow start when three over par after the first four holes in the morning.Eagles at the 543-yard 13th hole both in the morning and the afternoon were the key to their success. Biggs drove on both occasions, Bartrum found the green and Biggs holed putts from 15 feet and 25 feet.

Two other pairs have their names on the cup three times,Richard Long and Gordon Gibbs of Aldeburgh who won in 1964, 1966 and 1967 together with Stuart Goodman and Nick Owles who achieved their wins in 1981,1982 and 1987.

Winning in two successive years is not unusual. This has been achieved by D H Duffell and I P Whinney (1979 and 1980), Stuart Goodman and Nick Owles (1981 and 1982), Neil Meadows and Steven Macpherson 1991 and 1992), Jon Markham and Danny Barton (2000 and 2001) and more recently by Nathan Overton and Alastair Hall (2013 and 2014).

The course was in splendid condition with the greens true but still a bit slow. Most pairs scored better on the back nine. The exception was James Reiss and Monty Scowsill of Aldeburgh. Reiss, an amateur again after professional life in Spain, and Scowsill from Exeter University were out in 34 in the morning which was the best front nine of the day. They were looking dangerous but their back nine of 41 derailed their challenge.

Paul Barnard and Graham Wardley of Ipswich, winners in 2008, were rusty in the morning probably because Barnard does not play as often as he might like. They warmed to their task in the afternoon with a round of 70 which included four birdies.

Stowmarket players have a good record on their home course. At lunch James O’Doherty and Owen Clouting were only two shots off the pace. O’Doherty, playing with Kieran Issitt, finished third at Ipswich last year.

The partnership broke up because of doubts about Issitt’s availability. As it turned out he played with Matt Lockwood. They finished fourth on count back with rounds of 75 and 73.

It was also good to see Paul Buckle, a Suffolk stalwart in the past, and Ron Spore beating many of the younger players with rounds of 73 and 78 of their handicaps of three and six.

The Rookery Park pair, Luke Thompson and Guy Mummery, were fifth with round rounds of 74.

Nathan Overton (Woodbridge) and James Tyler (Ipswich) also left themselves with too much ground to make up after an opening round of 79.

Gregor Tait of Aldeburgh, off plus two, and Josh Driver of Diss (scratch) started among the favourites for the title. It was not their day.

The Suffolk Senior Foursomes was being played for the second year. Winners of the Jon Marks Cup were Mark Jackson and Andy Whittaker from Woodbridge was had lost in a play-off a year ago. Runners-up, and leaders in the club house for some time, were Tom Collett (Stowmarket) and Trevor Hellyer who has returned to Hintlesham.

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