The Warwickshire Matchplay Championship final was decided at Ladbrook Park Golf Club on 30th June, but prior to that the first two round were played between the top 8 qualifiers from the Warwickshire Amateur Championship.
Thanks must be given to Ladbrook Park Golf Club for their flexibility regarding this event as we had planned to run round 1 and 2 on Friday 14th June. For those of you with a good memory the weather that week was horrendous and after the brook that runs through the course burst its banks, we had little choice in cancelling these plans and having our qualifiers planning their own matches directly with Ladbrook.
In the first couple of rounds we had the following results...
Joe Macilwraith (Olton) bt Rhys Wallace (Handsworth) - 4&3
Dan Bardsley (Moor Hall) bt Stephen Creed (Maxstoke Park) - 2up
Cameron Bridger (Marston Lakes) bt Lewis Phillips (Coventry) - 7&5
Joe Macilwraith bt Dan Bardsley 1up
Liam Phipps bt Cameron Bridger 3&2
Our finalists are both members of Olton Golf Club and long-standing County players so the final was set to be a close affair.
Liam got a hot start over the first few holes and relatively quickly getting to 4up by holing some great putts and playing some controlled golf and sitting at 4 under par. Joe continued in his efforts to grab a few holes back where possible and his efforts were rewarded over the back nine of the first round by pulling the score back to only a 1 hole deficit on the 18th.
The afternoon round began with Liam finding the green on the first hole with two long iron shots and a two putt birdie to go back to 2up, and then went to 3up on the 4th after Joe made a bogey. But Joe kept fighting and got the score back to only 1 hole on the 7th with a solid birdie on the par 5.
Liam again hit back on the 9th with a birdie to take him back to 2up and both players level par for the round after the front nine. On the par 3 12th hole Joe made a very good 2 to claw back to 1up but gave it back on the following hole my returning a bogey on the uphill par 4. Pars were shared over the next couple of holes until the 16th hole.
Here both players missed the fairway right meaning their approach to the green was blocked. Both players attempted the same line to the green, with Joe managing to get his ball up level with the green however it was not as straight as he would have liked and found himself in the bushes on the side of the green.
Liams approach hit the tree that blocked the green, which left him another full shot into the green from the right side rough. Liams third shot finished little long of the green, but safe. Meanwhile Joe was struggling a bit in the bushes and could not find a way out, so he was forced to give Liam the hole and the match with a result of 3&2. This is Liams second Matchplay title.
It was a great match played in a competitive but friendly spirit. Both players and officials gave their thanks to Ladbrook Park in their preparation of the course for both the Amateur and the Matchplay Championship.