The heavy winds that have been with us for what seems ages were once again a feature for round 17 of the Winter Order of Merit. Many players struggled with the uncertain level of it, one minute it was very heavy “in your face”, then for a few seconds, usually when a player is just about to hit the ball with an extra club or two, it would suddenly drop. Darren Haughton took on board the advice from last week’s winner Paul Clegg, “swing slower, use two clubs extra and forget about distance, just think about where you want to take your next shot from”. Darren, playing off ten, said that it was great advice and worked fantastically well for him.
Playing on the Lakes course, he had a couple of putts just pushed off line by the wind as they slowed to the hole but still had 18 points after the front nine. Darren scored better on the more difficult back nine, he had a birdie on the par 5 thirteenth directly into the wind as well as several pars to come home with 20 points, giving him a total of 38. Darren said that he was pleased with the way that he had played but went on to thank Paul for the advice. Thirty eight points was enough to take the win this week and means that he will play off eight in round 18 on Saturday and moves up the overall leaderboard.
President John Sparks, off fourteen, just missed out on the top spot after scoring 37 points but said that in spite of the rough conditions, he felt that he had really played well. John loses one shot and will play off thirteen in round 18. Trevor Smith, playing off plus two, who had held the long time clubhouse lead, took third place with 35 points on count back from Ben Miles. Trevor loses point five which means that he will play off plus three next time. Chris Wheatland, Kev Hingle and Paul Jenkinson were a point behind with 34.
Adrian Cunningham still leads the overall table, he is 64 points clear of Kev Hingle with Trevor Smith just 15 points further back in third. Carl Causbrook drops to fourth place but Graham Smith remains in fifth, David Copley drops down to sixth place. John Sparks jumped up seven places to take over seventh place, Steve Anderson dropped one place to eighth. Ben Miles edges forward to ninth and Nick Cunnington who has been scoring steadily recently makes it into the top ten.
Organiser Neil Harris said that with just five rounds to go now, Adie Cunningham who has played exceptionally well this series, still has a good lead but that has been cut in recent weeks from 100 points to just over 60. The next few rounds will be a test of his nerve.
The Ladies had much better weather for their Order of Merit on Saturday. Hayley Hunt, who started the series off eighteen, kept up the pressure at the top of the table but had to be content with second place to this week’s winner Jacky Bayley. Both ladies scored 35 points but Jacky took the win on countback thanks to a better back nine. Angela Wheeler was third. Hayley who is now playing off thirteen still keeps her lead at the head of the table, Liz Haughton is second and Susie Ellis is in third.
The final round of the round robin Winter League threw up a few surprises. In group one James Abblett and Bryan Birchall lost their first match of the competition but still went forward to the quarter finals as group winners. Andy Dickinson and Brian McInerney also lost and Gary Moat and Adam Smith leapfrogged them to move into the quarter finals. Bill Skinner and Peter Key were unbeaten to win group two, Ali McNaughton and Dave Pusch lost their last game but still go into the quarters. Trevor Smith and John Sparks were also unbeaten in group three, they go into the mix with Pete Dickinson and Peter Smith. Club Captain Shaun Denholm and Wayne Terrett were also unbeaten, they go forward with Bob Green and Bill Kirton. The quarter finals will be played on Sunday the second of March. Trevor Smith and John Sparks play Ali McNaughton and Dave Pusch. James Abblett and Bryan Birchall take on Pete Dickinson and Peter Smith. Bill Skinner and Peter Key will play Bob Green and Bill Kirton. Shaun Denholm and Wayne Terrett play against Gary Moat and Adam Smith.
In round nine of the Seniors’ Winter League, new member Ian Jarvis, off eighteen, shot a fantastic 46 points which included birdies on the 13th and 14th on the Lakes course. Steve Taylor, also off eighteen, retains his lead at the head of the overall table after scoring 40 points to take second place on the day. Twenty handicapper Mel Clark took third place with 39 points.