2020 Wimbledon Common GC Club Championships sponsored by Covid played on Saturday 12th September amidst the delightful late summer sunshine here on the common, it was an early start, especially for those in division 3 of the men's 36-hole championship (7:00am).
It was a jam-packed day with 90 players competing in various divisions and it certainly didn't disappoint!
The main event for the men was an appetising contest with a field including reigning champ Martin Finn and previous winners including Brian McCarthy and the evergreen Trevor Standish. Then there were the likes of 5-times runner-up Wil House, hoping finally to make his dads dreams come true, Jez Warren, no longer carrying the weight of being Club Captain (or any hair on his head) and youngsters Freddie Gannon and Ben Turner looking to upset the established order!
In round 1, Wil House seemed to blow the field away, shooting a magnificent round of 69. meaning he took a 5-shot lead into round 2 over Trevor Standish and surprise package Andy Ryan. But the story was far from over! A triple-bogey 6 on the 1st hole brought Wil back to the field. Good scoring in the groups ahead by Pat Donaghy, Jez Warren and Freddie Gannon meant there were lots of player still in the hunt. Wil steadied the ship though and playing partner Trevor became his nearest challenger. Trevor using all his experience brought the lead back to one with 1-hole to play. They matched each other shot for shot, both on the green in 3 with makeable birdie putts. Wil to go first... to win it... just shaves the edge of the hole. Trevor, nerves of steel, rolled in the birdie putt to force a Sudden Death play-off with Wil.
A large crowd had gathered including many non-golfers who were passing by on their evening walk, captured by the excitement and drama that was unfolding on the common. 9-time club champion Trevor and 5-time runner up Wil stepped back onto the first tee and the play off began. Holes 1 and 2 were halved in 4 and 5 respectively with both players having good opportunities to win. With the light dissipating both players agreed with the captains and the chair of handicap to continue up the 3rd. Trevor's drive went right, over onto the second fairway. Wil also pulled the driver and launched it dead straight. It took a few bounces before rolling onto the green about 20ft past the pin. Trevor hit a terrific shot over the trees, clipping a few branches up at the top, that ended up about 15ft from the hole.
The tension was palpable! So much so that Wil's old man, Gordon, had gone quiet (something many of you will find difficult to imagine). If anyone was more nervous than Wil it was definitely him. Wil finished reading the putt. Slightly downhill and turning right to left the ball set off on the intended line... it was looking good, holding it's line... surely he's not going to win it with an eagle 2!! In it went and Wil let out a huge roar! All those near misses... finally he had reached the top! The monkey was off his back and Wil House, son of Gordon, was Wimbledon Common GC Club Champion and what a way to win it! Congratulations Wil! The lessons with Charlie certainly paid dividends in the end.
The best net score was won by our champion left-hander (or wrong'n) Dilly, otherwise known as Andy Ryan. Playing off 11 (although he's played more like a 31 handicapper recently) Dilly shot a very accomplished 74 in round one to get into the final group with the big names. Unfazed by this, he followed it up with a 78 to finish 6th overall and most importantly 1st out of the 2 lefties in the field. Dilly Dilly!!!
The Ladies championship was a good contest between the three players in the final group... 3-time champion Jo Elder, serial winner Madge Corbitt and first time competitor Sarah Riddell. It was a tight contest to begin with... After 9-holes Jo and Sarah were neck and neck with Madge only 3 shots behind. It was all to play for and would be decided by the player who held their nerve best. Jo, leaning on past experience kept the mistakes off the card to finish up with a terrific total score of 80 (+9). Sarah pushed her right to the end but just ran out of steam having to chase birdies to beat the flawless scoring from Jo. Congratulations Jo, now 4-time Ladies Club Champion!
The best Net Score in the ladies championship was claimed by Isabella Speranza with a net 73. The ladies Stableford competition was won by Kate Simpson who mustered 36 points
Division 2 of the men's 36-hole championship was hotly contested with the division filled with bandits! The likes of Paul Goodall, Gordon Tibos and Paul Clarke all of whom can better their handicaps significantly on their day. Coming out on top though, with a staggering second round of 74 (Nett 59) was former club captain Dr. Dwight Lindo! Congratulations Dwight, you are the biggest bandit in the club, or as I should say you were the biggest bandit as you've now been chopped severely!
The best Net Score in Division 2 went to Tony Reiss who has certainly had a memorable week. From the dizzy heights of knocking myself and Nick Murray out of our Captains charity Fourball with partner Don Willcox, Tony was clearly riding on the crest of a wave shooting net 64 in both rounds! Having been desperate to get cut to a handicap of 18 all year, Tony now finds himself playing off 17 after these two fantastic rounds.
Division 3 of the men's championship, played in a Stableford format, was won by Tony Hands-Heart with a total of 66 points! Neil Wilson looked favourite to win after a fantastic 38 points in round one but Tony kept plugging away and clawed his way back into the lead, eventually beating Neil by 3 points.
The golden hare (or white rabbit as our Men's captain calls it) is handed out to the player who improves the most between round one and round two of the 36-hole championship. The hare had done a runner before prize giving but Emma managed to find it taking a nap in the office just before we finished the prize giving. This year it was claimed by James Wilson who bested his first round score (I won't mention what it was) by a gargantuan 17 shots!
Thank you so much to our volunteers on the day, those who helped with the starting, the scoring and the spotters who helped marshal the public and most importantly help find the many stray golf balls from you lot! The volunteers were:
* Brian Cox
* Terry Williams
* Tony Carrington
* Peter Thompson
* Alan Clement
* Malcolm Sutton
* Carole Munn
* Tony two-names
* Pia Zelenka
* David Thompson
* Susannah Boanas
* Peter Brotherton
Buy them a drink, say thank you when you next see them as the day couldn't have gone so smoothly without them!
I think we can all agree that the course, especially the greens, was in fantastic shape, especially considering the weather we've had over the past 9-months. Ian and his team worked their socks off to get it in prime condition for our championships so we all owe them a big thank you! The work doesn't stop for them either as they are straight into their autumn maintenance, getting the course ready for winter.
Lastly thank you to all you players who took part! You make the day with your fantastic (and not so fantastic) golf and the jovial atmosphere you create around the club throughout the day and long into the night. It was a pleasure to be a part of and we're already looking forward to next year when, fingers crossed, proceedings won't be inhibited by Covid.