Graham beats the wind to win round 6 of the Order of Merit

Trevor Smith Rod Wells Sheila Douty and Martin BoughtonThe Seniors’ Captain’s Dinner, hosted by Rod Wells, was a well attended affair: as well as a room full of seniors and their partners, Club Captains Trevor Smith and Sheila Douty were in attendance. Two of Greetham Valley’s directors, Frank and Hazel Hinch, President Martin Boughton, his wife Heather and Club Secretary Dennis Millington and wife Joan also graced the event. The raffle on the night raised some £300 bringing the total to £600 raised for this year’s Seniors’ Captain’s Charity, the Alzheimer’s Trust. Founder member and experienced raconteur Keith Agar had those assembled in fits of laughter for almost an hour with a run of jokes, wry comments and pictures.

Graham SmithWeek six of the Winter Order of Merit was played on the Lakes course on Saturday. The weather was dry, cold and very windy – ideal for Graham Smith who is renowned for his ability in gusting winds and he triumphed for the first time in the event this year. Six handicapper Graham had 18 points on the front nine, including a birdie on the par four third hole. The back nine was even better as he also birdied the par five fifteenth and the par four seventeenth to come in with 20 and a total of 38 points to take the win. Graham said that he just played steady golf, tee to green, and took the chances with his putter when he had them. He leaped up from eleventh place to second overall and loses two shots off his handicap for the next round. Mike Watkins off eleven took second place with 37 points on countback from nine handicapper Paul Jenkinson. Mike loses a shot and Paul was docked point five. Four players were tied in fourth place – Trevor Smith, Tony Mould, James Gore and Adrian Cunningham after they all scored 36 points.

After six weeks, Melton’s Adrian Cunningham still leads with a 29 point gap ahead of Graham Smith in second. Steve Anderson slips back into third position and Kevin Hingle also lost ground this weekend. President in waiting John Sparks closed in on the top tier with another consistent scoring round. Paul Jenkinson leaps into the top ten following another steady performance this week. Fred Aspin, Steff Dutton, Ian Copley and Chris Wheatland all dropped places but remain in the top ten. With only six rounds played, the competition is all to play for and points in the bank now will prove invaluable for when the bad weather strikes. Round seven will be played on Sunday when the Rutland weather is forecast to be much colder with arctic winds.

Neil Harris took a party of Order of Merit competitors to The Nottinghamshire Golf Club during the week and returned full of praise for a course that has had a big facelift recently. All found the course in superb condition with beautifully manicured fairways and excellent receptive greens that were lightning fast, making putting a real test of skill. Neil said that it was refreshing to go to a course as visitors late in November that was in such good condition. Graham Smith was a worthy winner on the day coming in with 36 points. Chris Wheatland and Dave Copley were tied second with 35 points.

Greetham Valley’s Seniors held their end of season three club competition prior to electing their officials for 2014 last Monday: players could use any two clubs and a putter. Barry Shaw proved that he didn’t need all of the other clubs that he normally carries when he won the Hodgkinson Trophy, presented by Alan Hodgkinson, with a score of 38 points. Barry said that staying out of trouble and taking full advantage of it was the key to his win. Peter Morris took second place, he scored 34 points and John Taylor was third with 33. Bob King won the nearest the pin prize on the par three sixth hole. Fred Aspin was presented with the Neil Whitter Trophy by Neil for winning the Irons Only competition.

After the game, Radley Wardhaugh was elected as Seniors’ Captain and will take over from Rod Wells in January, Peter Woods will be his Vice. Rod thanked everybody for their fantastic support this year.