Townsend claims RWS title after sudden death

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Ian Townsend came out on top as the gents’ competition season at Melton Mowbray Golf Club came to a thrilling conclusion on the world famous Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa on Saturday.

The Race to Woodhall Spa competition saw father and son Ian and Geoff Townsend, with Kevin Robertson, Ray Catton and David Taylor, join the Order of Merit leader Pollard in the final, after qualifying from the shootout competition at the end of September.

The players enjoyed the perfect playing conditions for the final played as a stableford format. But the Hotchkin remains a formidable test of golf with its array of bunkers surrounding the excellent greens.

As expected, nerves played a big part over the early holes and the leaderboard was tightly packed at the turn with Robertson taking the lead by one with 16 points from Sam Pollard, with Ian and Geoff Townsend on 15 and 14 respectively.

Pollard, playing off scratch, birdied the 11th and 14th to take the overall lead before a bogey on the 15th pulled him back.

On the 17th tee Pollard, Robertson and Ian Townsend were all locked together on 30 points.

This was the closest finish ever in the five years the competition has been running.

However, Robertson hit trouble in the bunker on the 17th to fall out of contention and a superb birdie from Ian gave him a one-point lead as they went down the last.

Again there was another twist.

Ian found the bunker off the 18th tee, leading to a bogey, and Pollard’s par meant they were tied on 34 points with Robertson finishing third with 32 points, a remarkable performance on such a tough course.

A sudden death play-off was needed to decide the champion, which was a remarkable climax to the season.

It was Ian Townsend who claimed the title with a very steady par to claim the 2018 title of RWS champion.

On a good day for golf, 20 teams of four set off from the white tees to compete in the Florida Scramble on Saturday.

This is a new fun format to encourage additional golfers to enjoy the Saturday fun. With greens recovering from the recent maintenance and running well, it would inevitably produce some good scores. The outcome did not dissapoint with some very good scores being recorded and less than 9 points separating the first and last team, it was a very close result.

Results: Overall winners: A. Stokes, D. Mckain, S. Haines and D. Stokes; Second: R. South, C. Radford, D. Radford and P. Lee; Third: C. Carmichael, P. Meade, C. Ward and M. Jordan; Fourth: A. Grant, P. Blount, P. Mullins and S. Burton.

Twos sweep: Steve Draisey’s team, Richard South’s team, Terry Brown’s team, Vic Copper’s team, Chris Carmichael’s team, Nick Baine’s team, Phil Curtis’s team and Alan Parke’s team.

With the Monday morning Mingles into its second week, 30 players took part in the very competitive competition.

Results: 1 Bob Luke & Magerat Smale nett 31.8; 2 John Squires & Bettyne Norton nett 34.0; 3 Jim McQuillan & Maureen Mall, Alan & Drina Terzza nett 35.8.

The best fourball of the day was played by Richard Faubert and Elaine Howarth, with Bob Luke & Margaret Smale, earning nett 71.4.