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SUFFOLK BOYS WIN INAUGURAL ENGLAND GOLF SOUTH EAST UNDER 18 LEAGUE TROPHY

Suffolk will be the first name on the new England Golf South East Group Under 18 League trophy after the team beat Sussex and Hertfordshire in the final at The Dyke Golf Club, Brighton. The course is situated on the top of the South Downs with spectacular panoramic views over the south coast. It was fortunate that the matches were played in relatively calm conditions on a fine, warm day.

Suffolk had overcome Norfolk and Bedfordshire in the Northern Section, Hertfordshire had won the Central Section and Sussex had won the Southern Section. All matches in the league have been 8 singles over 18 holes in a triangular format. Final scores: Suffolk 10.5, Hertfordshire 9, Sussex 4.5.

Gregor Tait, the county Junior stroke play and matchplay champion, set the tone for the final by winning both his matches by 3 and 1, being 5 under par in doing so. In his final representative match before leaving for college in America the team captain, Jack Phillips, played solidly throughout and scored one and a half points for the team. Lewis Whiting was 4 down and 2 down midway through his matches and although losing 2 down to Under 16 international Charlie Strickland from Sussex he recovered well to score a half against Hertfordshire. Suffolk Amateur champion, Sam Byford, was never behind in two close games and he scored one and a half points. Four birdies at the start of his round gave Josh Driver a flying start and although he was pegged back during the round he finished strongly to beat both of his opponents. Will Morcombe produced an amazing comeback in his matches. After 12 holes he was 4 down and 3 down but he then started to hole some crucial putts and recovered to win one match and half the other. Although 15 year old Jack Cuthbert had six birdies in his round he dropped shots on most of the other holes and lost both his games. He was, however, up against two older boys with lower handicaps. Harry Fricker, also aged 15 and representing the Under 18 team for the first time, was the last match left on the course and he scored the vital one and a half points to ensure that Suffolk got over the line for a memorable victory.

Team Manager, Trevor Mason, said "I am delighted with the team who were very much underdogs against two counties with twice as many clubs and players to chose from. The boys did Suffolk proud and received compliments on their play and the manner in which they conducted themselves. To be the first winners of a prestigious new competition is a fantastic achievement" With only Tait and Phillips from the team leaving the junior ranks next season; the Under 16 team winning the Skevington trophy and the Under 14 team winning the Keith Bass Trophy and beating Essex in the Anglian Shield, there is every reason to be optimistic about junior golf in Suffolk for the next few years.

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