Venue: Coxmoor Golf Club
Captain: Stuart Bloxham
This year’s Midland County Championship and qualifying event for the English County Finals was held at Coxmoor Golf Club. A Heathland course which has held many top events including England Championships and Open Qualifying. The course was in tremendous condition and with the greens double cut, rolled and high winds it was going to test every part of your game.
The format of the event is a 36 hole medal, all individual scores to count towards your overall team score.
Liam Phipps, Ian Winstanley, Tom Ibbertson, Rob Copperthwaite, Joe Macilwraith and Dave Atkins with Steve Creed as reserve.
Morning 18 holes:
First to tee off and lead the team out was Dave Atkins. Dave who struck the ball really well found himself struggling to get to grips with the speed of the greens which contributed to his score of 80 in the morning. A score that wasn’t uncommon for the conditions but one that he would improve on in the afternoon.
Next out was Tom Ibbertson who has played in this event 7 times and with Tom Whitehouse on his bag he was in very good hands. Tom played some great golf and with birdies on 4 & 13, a 4 over par 75 was the worse score he could have shot as he was unfortunate on a couple of holes. Tom’s score was level par for the CSS so 75 was a good score.
Then we had Joe Macilwraith who has played some great golf leading up to this event. Joe playing in his first sixes event wasn’t fazed. Joe played some great golf from tee to green but wasn’t able to hole many putts, which was unusual for Joe. A double on the last hole gave Joe a round of 5 over par, again a good score against the majority of the field.
Next out was Ian Winstanley a steely character who gets taller every time I see him! Coxmoor is a golf course that suits Ian’s game. Ball in play off the tee and speedy greens proved to be the case. Ian had 4 birdies and 4 bogeys to return a tremendous level par round and one that got us back in this competition.
This left Rob Copperthwaite and Liam Phipps on the course.
Rob teeing off on the 10thhole started with a bogey 4 but quickly followed that up with a birdie on his 4thand 14thholes. Rob showed that he was in complete control of his ball flight and his level par round proved to be the case. A great performance and a score that was very much welcomed for Team Warwickshire.
This meant Liam was the last player on the course and fresh off the back of a hole in one on the 2ndhole in his practice round on Friday. Liam was playing sublime golf and went out in three under par (the best in the field) unfortunately a lost ball on the par 5 13thfollowed and a bogey on the tough par 3 17thlead on to a level par round. Another tremendous display of ball striking.
This was a great overall performance from Team Warwickshire which gave us a tie for the lead at +18 with Lincolnshire and three ahead of Staffordshire.
So, with all to play for the lads were ready to go into battle once again. During the afternoon, the wind picked up even more, meaning conditions were very tough indeed.
News came through on the course which was very encouraging for us. After nine holes Dave Atkins was -1 under, Tom was +1, Joe was +2, Ian was +4, Rob was +5 and Liam was -3 (+8 total) a score that was in the mix going down the back nine.
However, Lincolnshire posting two 71’s early on wasn’t what we wanted to see. Dave Atkins unfortunately tripled the last hole having been stuck in the trees and returned a score of 75 (+4) which was a decent effort. This was followed by Tom Ibbertson who birdied his 12th, 13thand eagled his 15thto take him to -3 under. But then unfortunately he doubled his 17thhole to return a great round of one under par and a total of +3 for the day.
This brought us back in contention. Joe retuned with a +1 back nine to card a 3 over round (+8 for the day) which was a great effort for his first sixes event of which I am sure he will have many more to come.
Lincolnshire then turned the screw with scores of 69, 76 posted to support their two 71’s meant Ian, Rob and Liam had to do something really special. Unfortunately for us this didn’t happen. Ian carded a -1 back nine to finish on +3, total of (+3 for the day) and equalled our best 36 hole score with Tom Ibbertson. Rob finished on +5, with two triples, a total of +5 for the day which was also a great effort.
Liam’s back nine was one that he would want to forget finishing on 76 for the round but another great effort by Liam with a +5 total for the day.
A combined afternoon score of 445 to support our 444 in the morning gave us a total of 889. With the CSS being +4 and +3 above par this would give an adjusted par score of 894, meaning we finished 5 shots below this score as a Team on the day. A great effort from the lads.
Whilst Lincolnshire carded an 80, Simon Richardson scored an impressive 67 (total -5) to win the individual prize giving them a combined total of 434 to support their 444 giving them a total winning score of 878.
It was a very creditable performance from Team Warwickshire. I would like to thank the players for going in to the ring and performing very well on and off the course. I would also like to thank our caddies Nev Gardner, Pete Clarke, Noel Copperthwaite, Tom Whitehouse and Steve Creed for their dedication and commitment. And of course, our President Graham Barton, Bob Harrison and their wife’s along with John Duncombe and Mark Reynolds (Warwickshire Seniors Captain) for their support on the day. I would also like to thank Coxmoor Golf Club for presenting a golf course in great condition and the Midland Golf Union for their organising a great competition.