(Left: Champion Sam Broadhurst & Hearsall Captain Tim Bates, Middle: Sam Broadhurst, Right: Tom Ibbertson, Tim Bates, Sam Broadhurst, Ryan James, Ben Goodison and Rob Browning.)
After a day of rain on Wednesday, this year’s Warwickshire Amateur championship competitors may have arrived expecting a slightly more forgiving Coventry Hearsall course but with the greens remaining firm and extremely fast low scoring looked set to be difficult.
Of the 66 competitors just five players broke par in the morning round, with many players struggling with the testing pin positions. The first under par round came from Jake Scott (Olton). Jake produced six birdies in his morning round for an excellent 68 to set the clubhouse lead.
Next to return a notable score was Sam Broadhurst (Atherstone). Having returned from America after being named freshman of the year, Sam went out and started to show why. Four birdies in his opening nine holes set the pace for an exceptional round. Sam continued some good golf but started to struggle on the closing nine settling for a level par back nine and an opening 66.
With a new clubhouse lead set, home player and Warwickshire Open Champion, Tom Ibbertson (Hearsall) looked the closest to catching it. Tom played some strategic golf using local knowledge to his advantage and posted an opening 68 to match Scott.
One shot further behind Tom and Jake were Louie Pett (The Warwickshire) and Rob Browning (Coventry), who both posted solid rounds of 69. Ben Goodison (Coventry) closely followed with a level par 70 to be four back heading into the afternoon. However, the difficulty of the greens and the pins were reflected in the remaining scores which saw the CSS go up by two for the morning round.
The afternoon brought with it gusty swirling wind and with Sam three over standing on the thirteenth tee the tournament was wide open. Sam hit it a long way right off the tee on the short drivable par 4 but fortunately it stopped just short of the stream. It was an important break as Sam went on to make birdie and would continue to close out a gritty 72. A -2 total left a long agonising wait to see if he had done enough.
Louie and Rob couldn’t maintain their morning form either and both finished with a 76 for a +5 total. Also joining Louie and Rob on +5 were Joe Macilwraith (Olton) and Rob Copperthwaite (Stratford on Avon), who both played very consistent golf returning identical rounds of 73 and 72.
Next to falter in the increasingly strong wind was Jake who could only manage 82. Sam’s three over wasn’t looking too bad at this point.
Ben had continued his good morning play shooting a respectable 74 to finish on +4, which was quickly joined by Ryan James (Nuneaton), who shot a level Par 70 and the low round of the afternoon.
The last player out, who was within challenging distance of Sam, was Tom Ibbertson. Still going strong as he headed into the closing nine, the championship looked as if it could go either way with Tom looking to add the Amateur to his Open title. Tom couldn’t match Broadhursts -2 total and would have to settle for a 75 and a +3 total. Sam had done it.
Another great day of Warwickshire golf was complete, congratulations Sam on becoming this year’s Warwickshire Amateur Champion 2016.
This years Team Challenge Shield went to Coventry Golf Club. The three man team, consisting of Ben Goodison, Rob Browning and Matt Cryer, returned a 16 over par total to win by an 11 stroke margin over last years defending Champions Olton Golf Club. Coventry now qualify for the National finals later this year and we wish them the best of luck representing their Club and County.
Thanks go to Coventry Hearsall Golf Club and their staff for providing a fantastic venue for this year’s championship. A final thanks goes to Matt Nixon and all the Warwickshire staff for making the event possible once again.
By George Allen