Cold wind and snow flurries were the order of the day as round nineteen of Greetham Valley’s Winter Order of Merit got underway on the Lakes course. After eighteen weeks of the competition nobody has managed to win it twice and this week was no exception. Carl Causbrook playing off nine took the honours with a sterling 36 points. Carl has come close to winning before but lost out on countback and had to settle for second place a few rounds ago; he will play the next round off seven after being docked two shots. Club Captain Trevor Smith playing off plus one also came in with 36 but lost out on countback to Carl; he loses another shot and will play off plus two in round twenty on Saturday. The ever consistent Steve Anderson was just the one point behind on 35, he loses point five off his handicap and will play off five this weekend. Wayne Terrett also came home with the same score as Steve but was dropped back to fourth place on countback. Club President and winner of the first Order of Merit in 2010/11, Martin Boughton, was fifth with 34 points.
It is very tight at the top of the leaderboard: Paul Jenkinson just managed to hold onto the top spot, he has a mere five point lead over Steve Anderson: Steve has 206 points. Carl Causbrook jumps up nine places into the third spot with one hundred and eighty six points whilst only three points behind him is the ominous figure of Trevor Smith who moved up six places into fourth. Trevor is now just three points ahead of long time leader Ian Copley on one hundred and seventy nine. The top ten places are very close to each other and the last five weeks will prove interesting as the title is within reach for a large number of players. Fifty points separate first from tenth, from first to twentieth it is less than a hundred points, if somebody can get two wins they will shoot up the leader board and with so few games left, could win it overall. The scores won’t be high for the remaining five rounds as everybody in the top thirty has had at least one cut to their handicaps.
The Winter League round robin stages finished this weekend. The final games were played on winter greens for the first time this winter, thankfully, the Greetham Valley ground staff are not fans of winter mats and apart from just the one set in concrete on the tenth, they have built separate winter tees for all of the other holes. Gary Graham and Kevin Burdall finished at the top of group one. Alan Bennett and Steff Dutton lost their final match and dropped from the second qualifying spot into third. Peter Zimmer-Smith and Peter Key turned up for their game but their competitors didn’t, this meant that they took the two points on offer and moved up to second place to claim one of the two spots to qualify for the quarter finals.
Bernard Bell and Neil Crees, Bill Skinner and Graham Day both lost their games in group two but still qualified for the quarters. 2011/12 winners Dave Morgan and Iain Bain finished in third place despite a valiant fight to win their final game against their opponents from the final last year, Mick Carnie and Jim Kearney. The top three all finished with nine points and countback was employed by Greetham Valley Secretary Dennis Millington to sort it out.
Matt Asher and Ben Gasson topped group three with eight points and go forward to the quarter finals. Steve Sharples and Mick Jones were fourth before the final round, Les Kowal and Jason Giblett were second, Steve and Mick beat them in the last game to leap ahead of them into the second qualifying position. Ray Gladwinfield and Mark Hibbett were the only pairing to win all of their games in group four and finished the round robin stage with a perfect twelve points. Peter Dickinson and Pete Smith lost only one game and qualified in second.
The eight pairs will become four after the quarter finals this Sunday.
Greetham Valley’s Ladies, led by Ladies Captain Sheila Douty, found a way to use up the times when the recent snow caused a cancellation of their golf games: they have started a bridge school. This has become so successful that they now play bridge at least once a week as well as playing golf. Sheila said that in the future, they hope to play host to other golf clubs in the surrounding area who also play bridge.