|Player||Home Club||AM Score||PM Score||Total Score|
|Luke Cornford||East Sussex National||78||68||146|
|JJ Grey||East Sussex National||74||77||151|
|AM Team Score||PM Team Score|
|SUSSEX TEAM'S TOTAL SCORES||443||433||876|
|Surrey 1st on 855 - 9 under par||Sussex finished in 5th place.|
This years South Eastern Group “6-man” was held at the beautiful venue of Ashridge just north of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire.
The Sussex team travelled up on Friday the 9th for a practice round in the afternoon. After a successful practice, we all the left the Club in good spirits confident that with current form maintained, all were capable of breaking par the next day.
First out was Sussex stalwart, Scott Nightingale our veteran “6 maneer”. After spending the previous night motivating the rest of the boys with stories of previous 6 man successes, Scott battled away as he does. It soon became apparent that green keepers had instructions to keep the scores reasonable by placing the pins in some very tricky pin positions. Scott battles his way to an opening level par 72.
Next out was James Doswell with reserve Ali Dalgliesh sportingly carrying his bag. Despite struggling with his putter, James's game, tee to green was exceptional. 3 birdies on the 3 par 5’s on the back nine, saw him round in 71. Jack Bartlett then continued his recent good form to turn in another level par round of 72.
Half the team in and we were looking good, one of the only teams in the red at this stage. JJ Grey was keen to seize the opportunity presented to him by Todd Adcock’s late withdrawal following an unfortunate neck injury. After a great front 9, JJ had taken full advantage of the 3 par 5’s. He had a putt on the 2nd (his 11th), to go 3 under. A tricked up pin saw the opportunity slip by. A series of testing holes then took their toll and 4 shots slipped away leaving him on plus 2 at lunch.
That left Peter Tarver-Jones and Luke Cornford out on the course. After a troubled start Peter had battled his way back to a couple over par standing on the 9th tee, his last hole. Trouble was in store! With the pin positioned precariously at the front of the narrow green protected by a 30 ft drop off the front, Pete hit his approach shot to the back of the green. His approach put was not only impossible to get near the hole, it was impossible to keep on the green! Down the 30 foot slope it went. The result, an ugly 6, which even made the rather excellent jam sponge the chef had rustled up for lunch, taste a little bitter in Pete’s mouth! His 76 was followed by a surprising 78 from Luke Cornford who had struggled on the greens.
That left us 14 shots behind leaders Surrey. A large deficit, but in this harsh format where all players scores count, a couple of 66’s or 80’s can create huge swing.
With plenty still to play for the boys attacked the course hard. Some early problems for Scott saw him turn rather disappointingly in 3 over par. We weren’t worried. Scott bleeds blue and yellow, and a couple of hours later he signed his card for a creditable 73.
Doswell was still hitting lots of fairways and greens in regulations. Unfortunately, he was also still hitting lots of putts which resulted in a 2 over round of 74.
Enter 2 times County Champ Jack Bartlett, starting on the back 9, Jack pummelled the ball up the 3 par 5’s with consummate ease, and turned 2 under par. He picked up a further shot to par to return an excellent 69 and get our team score moving in the right direction.
Battling hard on the front 9, JJ managed to make the turn in one over. Unfortunately, a couple of wayward drives on the way home resulted in a 77. Bitterly disappointed, JJ was consoled by Scott who informed him that his first effort in the “6-man” was also 151, 19 years ago!
Still out on the course Peter TJ and Luke were making amends for the shots they had dropped in the morning. Despite being bitterly disappointed by a bogie on the 18th, Peter managed to card an excellent level par 72.
That left Luke Cornford to polish of the day. And boy did he! A Sussex best of the day 4 under 68 lifted us into a creditable 5th position out of 11 Counties.
Though a long way behind the eventual winners Surrey, who finished a cumulative score of 8 under par, I was proud of the Sussex performance. Sussex’s team spirit was typified by Ali Dalgliesh, who despite knowing he would more than likely not play on the Saturday, pulled out of the Midland Youth Championship, which he had made the cut in on the Thursday, to be with the squad. Hats off to you, Ali.
Next years “6-man” will be held at Crowborough Beacon Golf Club. Remember the date - 14th July 2012. You will not see better amateur golf in the region.