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The Worcestershire Open at Bransford GC on Thursday 6th September 2018

Bransford Golf Club was host to the 68th Worcestershire Open Championship held on Thursday 6th September 2018. The event is a chance for the top amateurs and top professionals from across Worcestershire to compete head to head over 36 holes for the Guy Bigwood Cup. In addition, there are trophies for the amateur who returns the best 72 hole combined score from The Open and the County Championship played back in June (The Secretaries Bowl) and for the professional who has the best 54 hole combined score from The Open and their Stroke Play Championship.

Thus, with a lot to play for the players set out at 8.03 am on a bright, but cool morning for their first round. They found the Bransford GC course to be in exceptionally good condition, with the greens some of the best they have played on all year. 

Over the course of the morning there were four 74s posted, from Luke Rogers (Kidderminster), Paul Reeves (Redditch), Simon Gabbitas (Pro - Hagley), and Harry Chadwick (Bransford). However, the best morning score, a 73, came from Mark Smith (Worcester G&CC). With 11 other players within 4 shots of the lead, the tournament was set up for a close finish.

In the afternoon, a number of players took advantage of the knowledge of the course they had gained in the morning, and the scoring was excellent.  73s were posted by Giles Winthrop (Worcester G&CC), Paul Reeves Redditch) and Luke Rogers (Kidderminster). Jordan Aubrey (Ombersley) also posted a 73, which included a hole in one on the 13th! Jake Kelly (Ombersley) and Hugh Adams (Hagley) posted excellent level par 72s.

With an afternoon 71 to add to his morning 76, County 2nd Team Captain, Steve Bird, joined Paul Reeves and Luke Rogers on a 147 total. For a long time it looked like there would be a 3 way play-off for The Guy Bigwood Cup, but Ian Martin (Assistant Pro - Kings Norton) compiled a stunning 70 to add to his morning 76, to take the trophy on 146. Indeed, Ian actually retains the trophy he won last year at Halesowen GC. Well done Ian.

Ian Martin (Kings Norton) receiving the Guy Bigwood Cup from Grenville Rose (WUGC Prsident)

There were now three amateurs tied on 147 and it was Steve Bird who took the Gold Medal by virtue of a better last 18. With a combined 72 hole total of 294, Luke Rogers added to his impressive season by taking the Secretaries Bowl.

 Steve Bird with the Amateur Gold Medal.

 Luke Rogers with the Secretaries Bowl.

In the Professional 54 hole event, Ian's also took the Union Tankard, with a combined score of 221, edging Tim Shephard (Pro - Bransford) into second place.

The prize presentation was completed by Rob Richards (Bransford GC Captain) and Grenville Rose (WUGC President). Rob welcomed everyone to Bransford GC and thanked all the players for competing in the event, He explained that Bransford GC was delighted to host such a prestigious event, and hoped for many more in the future!  

Grenville thanked Bransford GC for being such good hosts, and thanked everyone involved with the club for putting on such a professional event. He offered special thanks to Graham Wallace and his greens team for preparing the course to such a high standard. Thanks were also given to Noeline and her catering and bar team, who looked after everyone so well, and provided food of the highest quality.

Finally, Grenville thanked all the volunteers for their help on the day, namely: Di Wilde, Colin Day and Tony Edwrads, the referees; starters Alec Mackie and Dave McDermott; administration team of Debbie Pritchard, Jim Gray and Dave McDermott. He also thanked the highly talented ball spotter Paul Newman.

In his winning acceptance speech, Ian praised Bransford GC for the quality of the course and the welcome everyone received as well as thanking the County for running the event.