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Brandhall Gold Vase at Kings Norton GC on Wednesday 11th July 2018

Some 100 players from 20 clubs across Worcestershire arrived at Kings Norton GC on Wednesday 11th July 2018 to contest the 72nd Brandhall Gold Vase Tournament.

The format of the competition is that each club fields 5 players in a nett medal event, with the best 4 scores counting toward a combined team total for the Brandhall Gold Vase. The best individual nett score wins the EGU Salver.

The day was to be sunny and warm, as per the previous few weeks. The course had been expertly prepared by Mick Reece and his greens team, and all the players were grateful for the quality of the course and the fact that the greens had been well watered over the previous few weeks. Thus, the greens were receptive to a well struck shot, and with the course playing relatively short because of the hard fairways, all the officials were expecting some good scoring.

Due to the nature of the event, with each team able to drop one score, it is notoriously difficult to pick a potential winning club based on early results. However, with nett 68s from their first players, both Redditch (Paul Reeves) and Worcester G&CC (Giles Winthrop) were early contenders, with Stourbridge (Paul Dodson) close behind on 70, and Fulford Heath (Ross Holmes) and Moseley (Richard Turner) not far off the pace with 71s.  

Redditch, in the shape of John Dicken (71 nett), kept their early lead as the 2nd flight of scores came in. Moseley (Anthony Hill 72) and Bransford ( Dave Lewis 70) moved into contention and Worcester G&CC (Mark Carpenter 76) stayed near the top of the leader board.

As scores from the 3rd and 4th flights of players came in it became increasingly clear that Redditch were going to be the club to beat as Steve Bird posted a 69 and Kevin Cook posted a 76. Bromsgrove moved into contention with a 71 from Andrew Diston and a 69 from Ken Garbett, and Fulford Heath stayed near the top with 74 from Dave Parker and 71 from Jim McMahon.

Despite an excellent 67 from Mark Smith (Kidderminster) in the final flight of players, it was not quite good enough to unseat Redditch GC from the top of the leader board as their 5th player Matt Vigurs posted a very solid 71.

Kidderminster and Bromsgrove took joint 2nd place, with Kidderminster in 4th. 

However, the Redditch GC team of Paul Reeves, John Dicken, Steve Bird, Kevin Cook and Matt Vigurs took the Brandhall Golf Vase with a sensational 4 player score of 279, an average of less than 70.

Matt Vigurs (left) and Steve Bird (right) with the Brandhall Gold Vase. Not pictured, Paul Reeves, John Dicken & Kevin Cook.

Mark Smith's (Kidderminster) excellent nett 67 took the EGU Salver for best individual nett, just edging out Paul Reeves (Redditch) and Giles Winthrop (Worcester G&CC), with 68s. Other players with sub 70 rounds were Tom Howells (The Worcestershire)  and Steve Bird (Redditch) with 69s.

Mark Smith receiving the EGU Salver from WUGC President, Grenville Rose.

The prize presentation was conducted by Michael Downes, Kings Norton Golf Club Captain, and Grenville Rose, WUGC President. 

Michael welcomed everyone to Kings Norton GC and hoped they had enjoyed playing on the course. He expressed the hope that many of the players would visit KNGC again to play in other Open Competitions.

Grenville asked Michael to pass on the County's thanks to everyone at KNGC for hosting the event. He specifically mentioned the excellent standard of the course and the friendly service received by players and officials from the bar and catering staff.

Grenville also thanked the volunteers who had given up their time to ensure the smooth running of the event: Rex Harrison, Ken Palfrey, Dave McDermott & Denis Hayes for starting; Denis Hayes, Dave McDermott and Debbie Pritchard for working on the administration desk; John Whitehead, Colin Day, Colin Mitchell and Tony Edwards, the referees.