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SPRAGGS WINS SUFFOLK OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

Patrick Spraggs has won the Michael Faraday Cup as Suffolk Open champion for the third time in his career. He had two rounds of one over par 71 to force a play-off with Robert Salter which he won at the fifth extra hole at Haverhill. Spraggs won in 2010 and 2011 as an amateur at Stowmarket. This latest success came as a trainee PGA professional attached to Woodbridge.

Salter, who also had two rounds of 71, had the consolation of winning the Easterbrook Trophy as leading amateur. He also works in the pro shop at Woodbridge

Pictured right are Patrick Spraggs, County President Phil Platten and Robert Salter.

For a while there was nothing to separate them as they played the 17th and 18th holes until a winner could be found. Spraggs sunk a long putt on the first extra hole to save his par with Salter unable to produce what would have been a winning birdie from somewhat closer. The second was halved in par with Salter producing a tremendous recovery from the bank behind the green. The third extra hole was halved in par and the fourth with two birdies. It was all settled when Salter’s second shot ended in a watery hazard to the left of the green. He had to take a penalty drop. With Spraggs on the green in regulation it was as good as over. Spraggs can thank his putting for this success because he sunk a long one for birdie on the final hole of his second round.

The best round of the day was two under par 68 from Chris Bartrum of Diss in the afternoon but it left him one short of a place in the play-off having a frustrating 75 in the morning. Danny Western, Suffolk’s amateur match play champion from Gorleston, was also one short with rounds of 72 and 71. The next three places were taken by county first team players, Ali Hall of Halesworth, James Biggs of Diss and Paul Waring of Felixstowe Ferry. Joint leaders after the first round were Salter, Spraggs and Waring. Josh Driver of Diss was on their tails with 72 but his challenge fell away in the afternoon. Suffolk Amateur champion Sam Byford (Ipswich), still only 16, had a round of 71 in the afternoon and was the best of Suffolk’s juniors. His overall score of 147 was matched by Haverhill’s Chris Vince and Hintlesham’s Sam Debenham. Guy Mummery of Rookery Park was still in with a chance at lunch after his round of 73 but his back gave him problems in the afternoon. Rookery’s other contender, Luke Thompson, had 73 in the morning but slipped to 77 in the afternoon. Jed Seeley of Newton Green, on his 18th birthday, was in a rush from the time he found that there was no way through Clare and had to take the long diversion. He made his tee-off time but there was no time for a proper warm-up.

The Haverhill course was in superb condition. Head green-keeper Glen Norris had prepared fast and true greens which provided an interesting test. Spraggs and Salter sunk some pressure putts in the play-off. The only players to have three of more Suffolk Open wins are Laurie Ayton, a former Ryder Cup team member from Ipswich with six, Robin Mann with five and Stephen Whymark with four. (Tony Garnett)

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