Week twenty of Greetham Valley’s Winter Order of Merit got underway in almost Spring like conditions – sun, warmth and unusually, next to no wind. Even the greens felt Springlike, very fast but true. After nineteen weeks of the competition, no player has won it more than once and week twenty, yet again, was no exception. Second Team Captain Alan Bennett, playing off seven, won this week with a massive 41 points. Alan, who was two under for the front nine and level on the back, said that he just played steady golf with the feeling that he just couldn’t miss. He was docked two shots off his handicap and will play off five next Sunday.
Club Captain Trevor Smith continued his push to not only win the Order of Merit but to do it with the lowest handicap possible. Playing off plus two, Trevor was second with yet another sub par round, he came in with 37 points and had a further shot taken off his handicap, he will play off plus three this weekend. Fraser Denholm headed a group of three on 36 points to take third and saw his handicap drop down to six for Sunday. Steff Dutton and Bob Beverley were pushed back into a tie for fourth place.
With the Order of Merit leader Paul Jenkinson missing through injury, Trevor Smith took over at the top of the league with 224 points, 12 ahead of Paul. Steve Anderson drops to third just 3 points behind Paul. Last week’s winner Carl Causbrook drops down a place to fourth and another previous winner Tony Mould is in fifth. This weeks winner, Alan Bennett moves up nine places into twelfth. Organiser Neil Harris said that it is all still very tight for the top thirty players and impossible to pick the eventual winner. Seventeen of the top twenty are now playing off single figure handicaps, somebody could still burst from the pack and make a charge.
Next year, this competition, which started as an alternative to the Winter League, will be adopted as an official club competition but for now with only five rounds to go all of the players are focused on winning the last independent one.
In the quarter finals of this year’s Winter League, played on the Lakes course on Sunday, Ben Gasson and Matt Asher beat Neil Crees and Bernard Bell four and three. In group two Bill Skinner and Graham Day beat the previous unbeaten pairing of Ray Gladwinfield and Mark Hibbitt on the last hole. Peter Dickinson and Pete Smith beat Gary Graham and Kevin Burdall three and one to win group three. In Group four it was a comprehensive win for Peter Zimmer Smith and Peter Key who beat Steve Sharples and Mick Jones six and five.
This coming Saturday 9th March sees the first Medal of the year and on Sunday round 21 of the Winter Order of Merit takes place. The following week Saturday 16th is the date of the Winter League semi final. Ben Gasson and Matt Asher play Peter Peter Zimmer Smith and Peter Key and Bill Skinner and Graham Day will play Pete Dickinson and Pete Smith. The winners will go forward to the final on Sunday 24th March. Good luck to all involved!