The best amateur and professional players across Worcestershire were found at Stourbridge GC on Friday 4th September - to contest the 66th Worcestershire Open Championship.
37 players in all, 28 amateurs and 9 professionals played 36 holes over the fabulous Stourbridge course, which was once again in magnificent condition for this prestigious 36 hole gross medal event. The main trophy, The Guy Bigwood Cup, is presented for the best 36 holes gross on the day, by ether amateur or professional.
Two other trophies are also handed out on the day - one for the amateurs, and one for the professionals. Both involve players bringing forward their previous 36 hole scores - from the County Championship for the amateurs, and from the Stroke Play Championship for the professionals - to add to their Guy Bigwood Cup score. The amateur 72 hole prize is The Secretaries Bowl, whilst the professionals 72 hole prize is The Union Tankard.
Early morning weather was not too good, although better weather was promised later in the day. The event started at 8.30am prompt under the watchful eye of the Professional Starter for the day, Vic. The first pair were round in under 3 hours with good scores of 75 and 73 - showing that you don't need to take all day to compile a good score!
In general the morning scoring was good, with players making the most of the "perfect" greens. The lunchtime leader was Chris Nugent (Fulford Heath) with an excellent 66, followed by Cameron Hoggarth (Wharton Park) whose 68 was made with the help of a birdie, par, par, eagle, birdie, birdie finish. Josh McMahon (Redditch) was in 3rd place with a 69, hoping to complete a "Stourbridge Double" after winning the County Matchplay at Stourbridge only a few weeks earlier. Other notable first round scores of 70 were posted by the professional pair of Mark Slater and Jeremy Robinson. A further 10 players were around in 73 or less, showing the high quality of the field.
The afternoon saw the wind pick up a lttle, and the temperature drop - making scoring a little more difficult. Of the morning leaders Cameron Hoggarth was the first to finish, adding a solid 71 to his morning 68 to post a very competitive 36 hole total of 139 (-1). As the afternoon wore on, none of the contenders were able to match Cameron's 139 total. Chris Nugent added a 74 to his morning 66, to post 140. It became clear that Josh McMahon was the only person likely to catch Cameron, and a good sized crowd watched him play the 18th, with his partner, Simon Gabbitas. It transpired that Josh needed to birdie the last to tie with Cameron, and he hit his approach shot to 3ft, albeit outside Simon who hit his approach to 18 inches. Both players tapped in for 3s, The watching crowd were suitably impressed!
No-one else was able to match the 139 posted by Cameron and Josh, although Jeremy Robinson added another solid 70 to his morning 70, to take joint 3rd with Chris Nugent on 140. Adam Whiting from Ravenmeadow shot a best of the afternoon 69.
The other afternoon highlight was a jole in one by Graham Wallace at the 9th hole, for which he was presented with a dozen golf balls by Will Painter, WUGC President.
Thus, the stage was set for a 3 hole play off, over 16/17/18. Pars by both players on 16 & 17, meant that all was to play for up the 18th. Cameron was to make another birdie on 18, to edge out Josh, to win the Guy Bigwood Cup.
The Union Tankard was won by Chris Mole from Bromsgrove, with a 147 on the day to add to his 145 form the Professional Strokeplay Championship. He won by 5 shots from Simon Gabbitas (Hagley G&CC)
A delighted Cameron Hoggarth (Wharton Park) receives The Guy Bigwood Cup from WUGC President, Will Painter.
Will Painter and Mark Slater, Captain of The PGA in Worcestershire presented the prizes and both were keen to thank Stourbridge Gc for hosting the event, and presenting teh course in such excellent condition. They also thanked the volunteers who helped run the day; Vic and Richard Davies (Secretary of The PGA in Worcestershire) who handled the starting, Mark Ralphs, Dave McDermott, Denis Hayes and Brenda Smith who dealt with the cards, and Tony Edwards and Clive Werrett, the two referees who were both out on the course for nearly 12 hours.
Josh McMahon (Redditch GC) receives the Secretaries Bowl from WUGC Life Member and former Secretary, Brenda Smith, for the best combined 72 hole score of 287 from the Worcestershire Open and the County Championship.
Posted on 05/09/2015
by Stuart Pritchard