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Suffolk Matchplay Championship (Presidents Mashie)

James Biggs of Diss is having a marvellous season. He won the Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog, the Suffolk Amateur Championship and now he has added the President’s Mashie, the Suffolk Amateur match play title, at Rookery Park.

His semi-final victory over Calvin Sherwood (Rookery Park) was a classic even though it ended on the 14th green. At the first hole Biggs was 130 yards from the pin. He sunk his wedge shot for the first of three eagles in his round.One of them, at the 470-yard par-five seventh, was matched by Sherwood for a half.

Biggs was five up after eight and never let Sherwood off the hook as the birdies flowed.

Seventeen-year-old Louis Martin (Haverhill), who won the President’s Mashie at Diss last year, made a valiant attempt to retain his title. His semi-final against Marc Duszinski (Ipswich and Diss), although not quite in the Biggs-Sherwood class, was nevertheless a hard-fought encounter that was not settled until the second extra hole.

Some of the approach shots from both players deserved a bit more fortune on the greens when six-foot putts failed to drop.On the first extra hole Duszinski had a horrible lie in a fairway bunker with his feet above the ball. He still managed to find the green and secure a half.

Martin won the next hole after Duszinski found another bunker with sand behind the ball. His next shot was almost out of bounds but he was on the green in three and his par putt was ever so close.

In the final Biggs went three up after five with the help of a couple of birdies.Martin hit back on the sixth and might have reduced the deficit further when he missed a six-foot par putt on the eighth. Biggs was two up at the turn and then won three of the first four holes on the back nine to take control.

The story of the first day was how Rookery Park’s Jon Fisher beat Suffolk second team player Chris Duffy and then gave Biggs a scare in the quarter-final.Fisher, who won the Suffolk Amateur Foursomes with Richard Barton in 1989, knows almost every break on the Rookery Park greens. He struck the ball sweetly and took Biggs to the second extra hole.

Sherwood was given a fright by Bury St Edmunds junior Max Adams who was at one stage three up before losing on the 18th green.

Duszinski beat Sam Byford at the 20th. Byford then took Duszinski’s place in the Silver Barrel at Ipswich the following day.

The Rookery Park greens were excellent. The fairways, like everywhere else, were burnt up so that there was plenty of run. The greenkeepers came in on their day off to change the pin positions.

Pictured left to right are Louis Martin, SGU President, Colin Firmin and James Biggs

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(Tony Garnett)