The Boys Matchplay Championship took place at Maxstoke Park this week, with some fantastic golf, huge tee shots and plenty of birdies it was great to watch!
In the first round our number one seed and newly crowned Boys Champion, Jamie Johnson (Coventry) faced Hearsall Golf Clubs Charlie Lamb and after Charlie took an early lead, Jamie fought back and managed to turn the match round to win 3&2.
In match two our 2017 Matchplay Champion Cameron Bridger (Lea Marston) took on home member and 2018 Warwickshire Boys Captain, Josh Davenport. Both players played some good golf, but Cameron managed to take control and win the match 4&3.
Next up was Rocco Luca (Coventry) who after finishing runner-up in the Boys Championship was in form and managed to beat Shirley GC member Joe Seaton 6&4.
Our last match (when they decided to turn up) was Ethan Trouth (Moor Hall) versus Rhys Wallace (Handsworth). After a very friendly match, Rhys too control and won 4&2.
In the Semi Final, Jamie Johnson drew Cameron Bridger. Cameron managing to close out the match on the 15th green winning 4&3. In the other semi final Rhys had the lead for the majority of the round and was still 1up after the 12th hole. At this point Rocco turned up the heat and converted 3 birdies in succession followed by a couple of halved holes leaving him 2up with two to play. Both players hit huge long tee shots down the 17th hole and both second shots finishing within birdie range. Rhys holed his putt for birdie first but Rocco calmly holed his birdie to secure the match 2&1.
Rocco Luca and Cameron Bridger were left to play the 36 hole final to compete for the Dick Ferry Cup. The final began with some VERY consistent golf where over the first 9 holes, there were two birdies and only two bogeys between both players! - this was good enough for Rocco to take an early lead of 2 up at the turn. The back nine holes of round one continued as it started with one birdie and only 3 bogeys between them both. Even with the number of pars scored Rocco managed to gain a 4 hole lead on Cameron after the 14th hole which he held until the 18th. Rocco opting to take the scenic route down the 10th fairway from the tee found the trees and struggled to reach the green in two. Cameron however opted for a safe tee shot with an iron down the fairway leaving him a good 5 iron to the flag. Cameron hit his approach perfectly and after talking to his ball in mid-flight a bit more than normal he finished close enough for an easy two putt par and reduce the deficit down to only 3 holes for the afternoon round.
The afternoon round began not quite a steady as the morning session but this didn't mean the level of golf deteriorated, in fact quite the opposite as both players started to show how much they wanted to win the title. Cameron started strong with two birdies in the first few holes bringing the score back to all square, but then putting together another 3 birdie barrage on holes 6,7 and 8 Rocco snatched back the lead and again took control of the match lying 3up after 8 holes. However, hitting his tee shot through the green on the 9th Rocco couldn't get up and down and Cameron hitting a towering tee shot making an easy par took Roccos lead back to 2up.
Rocco's bogey on the 9th was short lived however with another birdie on the 10th moving him back to 3up and giving Cameron some work to do. The 11th hole is a tough hole and shows as stroke index 1 on the card for a reason so I guess it is no real surprise that this hole was THE ONLY HOLE through out the final that was halved with a bogey! - meaning every other hole was won with a par or birdie... you have to admit that's impressive stuff!
Following this very slight blemish to the scorecard both players pared the 12th and 13th holes and both opting to hits irons from the tee on the short 14th. Rocco's iron for safety however found the trees and Camerons down the right side of the fairway. Rocco hit first and somehow found a gap of at least the size of a golf ball and finished 10 foot away in two. Cameron hit his approach on line but a touch short of the hole, so he was putting first but not much further away than Rocco's ball. Camerons ball just slid by the right side of the hole and Rocco took his opportunity to extend his lead to dorm 4up by holing another put for birdie.
Not one to sit back, Cameron won the 16th hole after taking driver from the tee leaving a short second shot, bringing the score back to 3down with 3 to play. Cameron playing first hit another towering iron shot right online and finishing 10ft short of the hole, Rocco hit his tee shot middle of the green and pin high meaning he was putting second. Camerons birdie putt stayed agonisingly short of the hole and then two putts from Rocco was enough for him to take the title 3&2.
The level of golf throughout the Championship was fantastic and no more so than the final match with 9 birdies, only 12 bogeys and all the rest pars!
Congratulations Rocco and commiserations Cameron.
Our thanks go again to everyone at Maxstoke Park Golf Club for hosting the event and for their hospitality throughout.
by Matt Nixon